The 300 exhibitors who took part in the 17th International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports (IAW) left in high spirits and with full order books. For the fifth time in succession, all the display space at Europe’s leading trade fair for orders of promotional products, trend-led merchandise and fast-selling articles was fully booked. The stands staged by exhibitors from neighbouring European countries, especially those making their debut at the IAW, attracted a great deal of interest from the 8,000 or more visitors from 55 countries.
The three days of the IAW were packed with sales activity and business talks. No wonder time seemed to fly. Every square metre of display space in Exhibition Hall 10.2 was booked. Exhibitors and buyers reported good business results. First-time exhibitors from France, Italy and Spain were positively surprised by the opportunities offered by the IAW in Cologne. The proportion of exhibitors attending from outside Germany rose from 28% to 33%. As in previous years, the Netherlands was represented by the largest contingent of foreign exhibitors, followed by France, the UK, Italy, Belgium and Spain.
Jean Guevara from the French company Fomax explained: “We are very pleased with the outcome of our first attendance in Cologne. We were able to conclude many good contracts and acquired numerous new customers.” A similarly positive report came from Bart Vermeire, the representative of Belgian company Fornord Import Distribution: “The trade fair turned out really well for us, even better than when we exhibited here last September.” He added: “The organization of IAW is always exceptional.” Virginie Banchereau from Glama International summed up her three days at the trade fair as follows: “We were very pleased to see so many buyers attending. The many business leads that we achieved during those few days also leaves us feeling optimistic about business prospects after the event.”
Handle Box winner of the Trendseller Award
For most of the exhibitors the first day of the IAW was exceptionally busy. Visitors thronged through the aisles of Exhibition Hall 10.2 at the Cologne Exhibition Centre. The main event on the first day – and a traditional highlight of the program – was the presentation of the IAW Trendseller Award. Many companies had entered their products in this prestigious competition, which was won by achilles concept GmbH & Co.KG from Neu-Isenburg, Germany. The winning product – the so-called Handle Box – is a folding basket notable for its simplicity and functional design. “The basket can be easily folded so it fits into a handbag”, said one of the judges, Ulrich Eggert, explaining the decision. “The practicality of this product will appeal to many end consumers, not least due to the exceptionally favourable cost-benefit ratio that it offers”.
Second place in the competition went to a very special type of hairbrush. Betty Brush – a patented anti-tangle brush – is from Street of Solutions BV, based in the Dutch town of Malden. Thanks to the position of the brush teeth, children’s tangled hair can be brushed without the usual tears and tantrums. Adults like using this brush too.
The Zisch & Wisch range of cleaning products from EKV GmbH in Vettweiss, Germany, boasts a refillable container for cleaning fluid featuring a spray and sponge head with different surfaces. This novel combination was awarded third place. “An astonishingly diverse range of products was submitted to the competition for the 13th Trendseller Award,” said panel member and IAW moderator Ralf Kühler. “Despite the large number of entries, we hope that even more of our exhibitors will take part next time in order to underline the innovative drive that distinguishes our sector.”
Future-focused talks at the IAW Trendforum
The exhibits embraced a huge variety of product segments and products from approx. 300 exhibiting companies. This obviously formed the heart of the event, but the IAW Trendforum was again extraordinarily popular. Leading experts spoke on the current topics and trends as well as on the trends which are expected to shape the future of retailing. The first speaker was Elmar Fedderke, managing director of Walgenbach GmbH & Co. KG, who analyzed customers’ perceptions of companies and used memorable examples to illustrate the value of customer loyalty. Marion Seger, product manager of TUI Deutschland GmbH, and Tosin A. David, director of Marcellino’s Academy, demonstrated that price is not enough to influence sales – a product must also offer an emotional benefit. Optimal product presentation was the central theme of the zentrada Forum on the second day of the trade fair. In a session chaired by the chief editor of zentrada, Martina Schimmel, various experts showed how dealers can use the latest developments to help design and realize sales promotions in online shops and in city retail stores.
Internet retailing dominated the program on the third day of the IAW Trendforum. Someone who knows all about how to use the Internet is Carsten Röhl, Google AdWords specialist. His presentation on the kind of strategies and techniques required to win customers on the Internet proved a real crowd-puller and was an excellent demonstration of how to improve websites and make them more effective.
After the show is before the show
To sum up, the first IAW this year proved to be a complete success. All the exhibitors were pleased by the number of sales and business leads achieved during the three days of the event. Every square metre of Hall 10.2 at the Cologne trade fair venue was booked and the record number of visitors recorded last spring was almost equalled (8,149 visitors from 55 countries). “It is becoming increasingly evident that the IAW has a lot more potential”, said Ulrich Zimmermann. He added: “We would like to see even more exhibitors at this year’s autumn event from 17-19 September 2013. In order to ensure that we can offer sufficient space and attractive stand locations at the IAW we will move to Halls 4.2 and 5.2.” The area occupied by the International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports will thus increase by at least 4,000 square metres. Zimmermann concludes: “We are confident that we will set a new record regarding the number of exhibitors this autumn. And we will do everything we can to top the 300 mark.”