Busy stands, full order books: 18th IAW fair closes on a high note. Best-ever results for autumn event.


IAW – the international trade fair for the retail sector – is unmatched in Germany and beyond. Its latest edition this September lived up to its excellent international reputation. With 300 exhibitors from over 20 countries and 8,000 trade visitors from Germany and abroad it not only achieved its customary international flair, but also delivered the best results for the IAW in autumn. New exhibitors, in particular, were thrilled by the large number of trade visitors at their stands.

Cologne, Germany 19 September 2013.  As the last exhibitors and trade visitors left the IAW trade fair site it was time to say “Goodbye IAW – until next time”. The 18th International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports closed last week reporting the best results in its history and countless success stories. “The exhibitors were more than satisfied with this autumn’s IAW. Many good business deals were initiated and concluded here”, reported Ulrich Zimmermann, managing director of Nordwestdeutsche Messegesellschaft. “We were especially pleased to note that the first-time exhibitors joining the IAW community received such a good response and could reach the broad audience of buyers so effectively.”

The 297 exhibiting companies were not only impressed by the good organization and clear structure of the trade fair – they were also amazed by the large number of high-calibre contacts. It was the 8,135 visitors from over 50 countries who made their way to Cologne which helped make the event such a success. Olga Jouravleva from the French company Eurolaser explained: “The IAW was simply marvellous. We made some great contacts and numerous excellent business leads.” This view was echoed by the Spanish company Arte Regal Import, a company with international operations that took part in the IAW for the sixth time: “We always invite our German customers to meet us here in Cologne. This is simply the ideal platform for showcasing our product range to best effect”, said their spokesperson Ventura Pales.

IAW Trendseller Product Award for portable loudspeaker
Every fair has its traditional highlight. And the presentation of the IAW Trendseller Product Award got everything off to a good start on the Tuesday of the event. Despite the many outstanding entries submitted, a winner was quickly found: the portable speaker marketed by the Cologne-based Mobiset GmbH was an immediate hit with the panel judging the competition. Whereas the Sound2Go Mini Speaker is connected to mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets, etc. by a jack cable, the Sound2Go Nemo Bluetooth Speaker is fully cableless. The rich, full sound produced by the mini speakers was one of the decisive factors that influenced the selection. The Bluetooth speaker can also be used as a car phone speaker. “We are extremely pleased to see our products winning this award”, said Mobiset GmbH spokesperson Jürgen Wetzlaff, adding, “We hope that the Trendseller award will also generate more interest in our products.”

The second prize went to Krommer GmbH from Linden, Germany, which exhibited a range of innovative Korean products at the trade fair. The winning entry presented by this newcomer to the event was the Zero Cutter, an absolutely safe and accurate cutting implement, which the judges felt had big sales potential. The Canadian company Fan Ink Limited was another first-time exhibitor to make the grade, gaining third place for the official FIFA-licensed fan merchandise for the 2014 World Cup. Ulrich Zimmermann commented: “We were particularly pleased by the diversity of the entries”, and added: “The prize-winning products not only impressed by virtue of their innovativeness. We are confident that they will generate massive sales.”

New line-up of three events with the focus on modern retailing
The informative supporting program at this autumn’s trade fair also had much to offer. For the first time, three events dedicated to retailing were held at the IAW: the IAW Trendforum, the zentrada Forum and the new online portal Restposten.de. Elmar Fedderke, managing director of Walgenbach GmbH & Co. KG, spoke on the first day of the fair about the strategies which retail stores can use to maintain a customer base and how they too can profit from online business. The speech delivered by renowned business coach Kay Lewinsky focused on the importance of creating values which the customer can identify with. The zentrada.network forum addressed the issue of how to motivate customers and maintain customer loyalty in the light of e-commerce. Martina Schimmel, editor in chief of zentrada.magazin, and her colleagues offered the audience insights into day-to-day business and practical tips for retailing.
The opening of the new forum Restposten.de saw the boss himself, Stefan Grimm, CEO of GKS GmbH / RESTPOSTEN.de, speaking on the technological revolution in the retail business. Other speakers at the new forum dealt with the digitalization of retailing, including Dr. Eva Stüber, Senior Project Manager at Cologne-based research institute ECC and an expert in multi-channel management and logistics, as well as Adrian Hotz, e-commerce consultant to manufacturers, brands and the trade. Adrian Hotz is known for the development of successful strategies and innovations in e-commerce and multi-channel management.

Launch of a new platform for wholesalers
Stefan Grimm had another pleasant surprise in store: the IAW was an opportunity to present his new trade platform for wholesalers. In future, by contrast with Restposten.de, the closed b2b platform Grosshandel.eu will market merchandise, brand products and consumer goods. As could be seen from the sneak preview, there was keen interest among the exhibitors. If everything goes according to plan, the wholesale trade can look forward to the service going online on 10 October 2013.

New ambitious goals for March
Although the exhibition area in Halls 4.2 and 5.2 had been extended for the event, all stand space was fully booked. “This shows that the trade wants us”, concludes Ulrich Zimmermann. “Naturally we are pleased but the good response also makes us want to improve services and set new ambitious goals for the 2014 spring fair.” The organizers’ satisfaction with the autumn IAW was matched by the reaction of the exhibitors, who had every reason to be pleased with the results. On the first day of the event the fair was full of trade visitors and all the stands attracted a keen audience of buyers. This trend continued throughout the entire trade fair, which meant that the exhibiting companies were kept busy taking orders until the end.

Ulrich Zimmermann reports: “Following such a successful event, our team has obviously raised its expectations.” He added: “We will be sitting down immediately after the event has ended to put together some good ideas for the next IAW.” The 19th IAW will be the spring fair starting on 25 March 2014 in Hall 10.2 at the Cologne exhibition grounds. Many regular exhibitors have already booked stand space. Apart from seasonal trade, the focus of the next event could be fan merchandise for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

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