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2 case study: Joe Davies Exhibitions form a crucial part of our sales strategy for showcasing new products Joe Davies Ltd is over 90 years old and remains a family business supplying giftware to the independent retailer. The company has been a long-time exhibitor at Spring Fair International and added Autumn Fair International to its calendar in September We spoke with Commercial Director, Paul Hooker: THE CHALLENGE Exhibitions form a crucial part of our sales strategy both for showcasing new products to our existing customers and gaining new business. Independent customers need plenty of new and innovative gifts and this drives our business. Such a high volume of new products really needs exhibitions to show them at their best to as many of our customers as possible. Without exhibitions we are certain that our sales would suffer. We develop and launch over 4,000 new products but the size and range in total is anywhere between 7,800 to 8,500 active lines. Of course customers can come to our showroom, but you simply can t see the volume of people that you can at an exhibition over such a short period of time. A high volume of new products really needs exhibitions to show them at their best Without exhibitions we are certain that our sales would suffer

3 THE plan Planning for a show begins almost the moment the last one ends. We will analyse each show and ask two simple questions, what went well and what can we do better? We then work hard on development out in the Far East and make commitments on ranges so that by the time we are at Spring Fair International or Autumn Fair International, every item on display is either in stock, on the water or ordered and due to be shipped. This means our customers know that they can order with confidence and with high levels of availability following the show. Typically if a customer orders at Spring Fair International, new ranges will start arriving from February to May. This huge amount of work before the show is essential to make sure our customers have a regular supply of great gift lines and to ensure we make the most of investment we make in the show We will see different customers across the shows we exhibit at. Autumn Fair International in particular works well because we tend to see many people that won t have gone to other shows and the timing is great for the busy Autumn trading period, our product availability at Autumn Fair International is also at its strongest out of any of the shows we attend. Some customers even receive their order the day after they return from the exhibition. As a company we are set up to serve the independent retailer and it is encouraging that there are always new shops opening up. Success for us though is in having the right product available at the right time. That way, we can keep our customers happy with our Little & Often order system, new products backed up by great service. Exhibitions showcase our products and are essential for our business. (Joe Davies are 11 times winners of the Greats Best Service to the Independent Retailer award every year since its inception!) Our product availability at Autumn Fair International is at its strongest out of any of the shows we attend exhibitions showcase our product and are essential for our business

4 case study: DMC creative world Trade shows have without doubt become more important for our business DMC Creative World is one of the major names in the hobby, toy and craft sectors but only started showing at Autumn Fair International in the last three years. Their managing director for Northern Europe, Jonathan Thompson, talks about the way he approaches trade shows and the value that they deliver. THE CHALLENGE Trade shows have without doubt become more important for our business. This is a 270 year old company but it has been one of my objectives over the last 4 or 5 years to look at our sales strategy and our approach to exhibitions in particular. I wanted to look at how we invested in shows, the amount spent on stands and the resource we require on-site to make them effective. We first exhibited at Autumn Fair International 2 years ago after I visited to get a feel for the visitor profile and the amount of cross over between general gifts and our hobby and craft sectors. In year one we exhibited in a small way in order to test it and then moved up to a bigger presence with sponsorship of the fashion show last year. It was very successful for us, and was certainly helped by the fact that it coincided with i2i Events Group raising the profile of hobby and craft as a defined area within Autumn Fair International. Trade shows are an important way of showcasing our new and existing products raising the profile of hobby and crafts

5 THE plan Exhibitions are an important way of showcasing our new and existing products. You have to create a wow factor with your stand and give inspiration to customers about how products can look in their stores. That is what really helps secure orders. You simply can t show our full range that effectively out on the road. Having new product is critically important because you need to entice your existing customers to visit the stand as well as attract new accounts. I would say up to 20% of what we show will be new products and the balance will be on-going ranges. Autumn Fair International was very effective in attracting new business leads. We had around 60 leads which converted into around 40 new accounts. It has a large cross-over appeal between gift products and hobby and craft and we therefore adjust the mix of products we take to the show. Planning in detail for each show starts at least 5 months ahead and we put considerable effort into marketing and advertising our presence at shows. We invite all our customers, often using a competition as an incentive and will advertise in the trade press. In our communications, we will promote special deals that will be available and of course the new products. Jonathan Thompson, Managing Director, Northern Europe Region, DMC Creative World Autumn Fair International was very effective in attracting new business leads. We had around 60 leads which converted into around 40 new accounts. Autumn fair INTERNATIONAL has a large crossover appeal between gift products and hobby and craft

6 case study: Authentic models being at trade shows continues to be an important part of what we have to do Drawing its inspiration from the age of exploration, maritime history and cartography, Authentic Models was created more than 40 years ago in the Netherlands. It now sells its unique collection of furniture, artifacts and accessories around the world. Sales Manager, Eric Hanson explains how trade shows are an important part of their success. THE CHALLENGE We are headquartered just outside Amsterdam and operate a network of sales offices in the UK, Belgium, Italy, France and Germany which all have teams of sales agents. About 75% of our business is from Europe but the UK is our second largest market accounting for more than 20% of sales. The majority of our sales are generated by our agents but being at trade shows continues to be an important part of what we have to do. For our UK business, showing at Autumn Fair International remains an essential part of our sales strategy because we know that many UK retailers do not travel as much as those on the continent. It is therefore important for us to be seen by them and we invest considerable amounts in our stand build and sales resource to make it as effective as possible. Autumn Fair International also works well for us because it falls into the perfect timeframe. We are finding that retailers are leaving it later to place orders for Christmas and are buying far closer to seasons in general. Autumn Fair International remains an essential part of our sales strategy we invest considerable amounts in our stand build

7 THE plan Our planning cycle for a trade show begins some time back. We do not develop large numbers of new products as this can be very expensive to develop particularly in lines such as furniture. The real investment for our trade show sales strategy is in developing the look of the stand and all the key display areas. It is all about the presentation because this is what inspires our customers to not only order from us but in giving them ideas for displays and merchandising of our products. Helping them sell better is very important. We also invest heavily in our marketing ahead of any show. We produce specially printed invitations advertising all the shows we will be exhibiting at and then mailing them to our customer base as well as prospects. Working with exhibition organisers such as i2i Events Group, we also receive special VIP passes which we send to key customers and which we find to be very important and effective. We then follow up with a strong telemarketing campaign where our sales agents will contact all of our customers and prospects to ensure that they will be attending the shows and to book appointments if possible. Again, this is very important in ensuring that a show is effective. Success at a show such as Autumn Fair International is not judged by us by the quantity of orders, but more the quality. Similarly, we don t necessarily expect to open large numbers of new business accounts because we know that this takes time to convert. Meeting potential new customers is of course important but winning business is the result of all the pre-work you have to put to make a show effective. Eric Hanson, Sales Manager, Authentic Models It is all about the presentation because this is what inspires our customers to not only order from us but in giving them ideas for displays winning business is the result of all the pre-work you have to put to make a show effective

8 case study: Widdop Bingham & co Exhibitions are absolutely critical for us and we take them very seriously Formed 125 years ago, Widdop Bingham is one of the UK s biggest suppliers of clocks, gifts and home accessories and has been a long-term exhibitor and supporter of Spring Fair International. Widdop also show at Autumn Fair International. Director Andrew Illingworth, talks about the importance they place on exhibitions. THE CHALLENGE Exhibitions are absolutely critical for us and we take them very seriously and invest a lot of time and money to ensure that they are an effective new product showcase. There is no doubt in my mind that new drives the shows. That is what retailers are looking for and it is what makes us stand out. We exhibit at Spring Fair International and Autumn Fair International. Spring Fair International, weather permitting, will see 70,000 or more people visiting which is incredible and is an important reason why it is so important for us. Seeing that number of people over a short period of time cannot be achieved in any other way. Autumn Fair International is also important at the end of the year where retailers are increasingly looking for stock for immediate delivery. Seeing that number of people over a short period of time cannot be achieved in any other way. in my mind... new drives the shows

9 THE plan Planning and preparing for any show begins immediately after the last one closes. The design and procurement process begins with us in our offices analysing sales, trends and customer feedback. This is important so that we can meet our aim of being able to deliver 80% of new product at customers first pick. We will also work closely with i2i Events Group in supporting their advertising and website activity but we also put a large resource into our own below-the-line marketing by sending out mailers and invites and including our participation on all customer communications such as statements. A successful show for us is about getting the volume of people to visit our stand. This can be even more challenging today when we know that retailers and buyers have cut down on the length of time they can stay out of their businesses. We therefore make sure that we have made appointments for as many customers as possible. I will also measure the success of a show by the volume of new business and will want to ensure that the amount of new orders written covers the cost of the investment in our stand and costs of attending. The success of a show is not just about orders taken but in the orders generated. And that can take time. Our sales agents have a golden rule to follow-up every enquiry, from a show or to our offices, within a week. We have definitely seen a big change in retail buying patterns. It used to be the case that buyers were much bolder in years gone by in backing what they thought would be best sellers and committing months ahead. Today they are much more cautious and are looking for companies that hold stock for immediate delivery. Our stock lines have increased by 20% as a consequence. It is what you have to do now. Retailers are managing their buying budgets in a far more hand to mouth way and also have far more options such as b2b websites and suppliers. This underlines why we have to ensure that our products are always innovative and new. Andrew Illingworth, Director, Widdop Bingham We have definitely seen a big change in retail buying patterns A successful show for us is about getting the volume of people to visit our stand

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