Beautiful late summer weather added to the good mood of trade fair partners and visitors at the 30th International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports (IAW) in Halls 6 and 9 of the Cologne exhibition centre. From 18-20 September the anniversary event of the IAW welcomed around 8,400 trade visitors, thus emphatically repeating the excellent response to last year’s autumn fair. A total of 347 exhibitors showcased a diverse array of products on a total display area of 30,000 m². More than half of these exhibitors came from the twenty foreign countries represented at the event in Germany. The IAW is known as the trade fair where products from every product segment can be ordered directly at great prices, however in addition to this core competence the event provides an outstanding platform for e-commerce and sustainability.
Organizer Ulrich Zimmermann, reflecting on how he feels about the anniversary event, commented: “I am constantly amazed by what we have achieved over the course of 30 fairs. We’ve experienced some ups and downs between our first events in Hannover and today’s IAW, so I feel quite proud about the position we now enjoy. Of course, I am also profoundly grateful to every person who has helped us build and improve the IAW.” This sentiment was reciprocated by exhibitors, who expressed their respect for Zimmermann. Peter Marx, who has exhibited at the IAW from the very first event with his company PM Euro-Trading, remarked: “Uli Zimmermann and his team have worked hard to develop the trade fair and this alone has made the IAW such a positive experience in the business calendar. The IAW attracts a serious audience, with a good mix and an international cross-section of visitors. It was therefore not surprising that we gained several new customers from Moldova, France and Switzerland.”
For some exhibitors it was their 30th IAW, while others who made their debut at the orders fair were equally delighted by the outcome. Peter Ogurzow, head of sales with Rakuten Deutschland GmbH, for instance, reported: “We have seldom encountered such a colourful mix of target groups we found at the trade fair. Small retailers and large international chains, everything is possible here.” There was praise too for the excellent organization. In fact, the IAW in spring had impressed Armin Rotabi from Poppistrong so much that he booked a stand for the autumn event there and then: “Exhibitors get an excellent service – whether in terms of parking, the electricity supply at the stands, sun shields, even down to the delicious bread filled rolls. The service is unique and outstanding.”
The International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports has long since made a name for itself with its interesting supporting program. The talks and workshops held in the E-Commerce Arena proved a big attraction. This event marked the launch of a new form of cooperation – a meet-up with Merchantday, Hannover – which underlines the growing significance of digital commerce. Exhibitors seem to be strongly attracted – nearly all the companies that have exhibited here return. As Carsten Kurzawa, Head of Sales for Schneider Hamison, explains: “Flexibility & networking, especially against the background of e-commerce, are challenges for the future. Naturally, a trade fair like the IAW is the right place for promoting progressive developments.”
The IAW Trendforum is a further hotspot. Here experts offer insights, information and workshops on bricks-and-mortar stores and multi-channel marketing. Another highlight is the presentation of the IAW Trendseller Product Award. The awards serve to recognize products due to their commercial potential and appeal. The winning entry was a data protection card for wallets from the company
MakakaOnTheRun in Delitzsch. The card protects credit cards, ID cards and similar sensitive products from unauthorized readers and prying eyes. Second prize was bestowed on the Dutch company Mesa Products B.V. for its cooling mister system, while the Danish company Simplifiers won an award for its practical smart phone holder, which fits into the tray on the back of seats in aircraft.
Sustainability continues to be a major theme of the IAW. Numerous exhibitors presented alternatives to the traditional disposable plastic products or highlighted the use of recycled materials. Some exhibitors such as Marc Feger, Head of Sales at BTC, base their entire business model on this approach: “The most straightforward response to sustainability from an ecological and economic standpoint, or viewed from the consumer or seller, is to deliver quality. Demand for high-quality products is increasing and they pay off.” For Carsten Kurzawa this issue has been mainstream for a long time: “We have the strong impression that vegan foods are rapidly gaining popularity. More than that: we no longer see it as just a trend. Veganism is now widely accepted.”
The International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports is an incomparable platform for the wholesale and retail trades, offering a unique combination of a platform for orders and a congress for every sector of the trade and all market players. The IAW will be taking place for the 31st time from 10-12 March 2020, once again at the same venue – Halls 6 and 9 at the Cologne exhibition centre. Further information can be found on the website: www.iaw-messe.de.