By Penny Sikalis
No one can deny that times are tough for the home industries, and today’s challenging economic environment is forcing most companies to take a long, hard look at the bottom line. For everyone looking to maximize their purchasing and/or marketing dollars—and everyone who should be—I have two words: trade shows.
Trade shows today are more important than ever before. Sure, it might be simplistic and easy to focus on the expense of travel and lodging, and in the case of vendors, setting up a booth. But it is far more costly in the long run to ignore the real, tangible benefits that trade shows provide.
Trade shows in general, and the Gourmet Housewares Show specifically, are the most cost-effective and time-efficient method to meet with the maximum number of contacts within the vendor and retailer communities. Trade shows provide a human element that is vital to today’s business dealings. To put it bluntly, our modern addiction to cell phones and e-mail is no substitute for face-to-face contact. Deals can be made virtually any time and anywhere, but relationships require sustained personal interaction.
Companies who opt out of trade shows do so at the peril of losing both business and reputation. Absence from such a high-profile event inevitably leads to questions about a company’s viability and commitment to the industry. Retailers need trade shows in order to discover new and exciting merchandise that will differentiate their stores from the competition and lure cost-conscious consumers to make purchases. And for vendors, the old adage remains true: “If you don’t show, you can’t sell.”
There are ways to pinch pennies and still have a productive trade show experience. Retailers can save by using the show’s travel discounts, and by sending fewer people. With a little ingenuity, vendors can pack a powerful punch with smaller booth presentations and a more intimate environment for one-on-one discussions. The important thing is to be present—to make the maximum number of contacts in the shortest amount of time.
The 2009 edition of the 33-year-old Gourmet Housewares Show is returning to San Francisco and is scheduled for Aug. 8 to 10 at the Moscone Center. The Gourmet Show is the only industry event to focus on high-end cookware, cutlery, bakeware, small electrics, gadgets, tabletop, kitchen textiles and specialty food, and is expected to draw nearly 300 exhibitors and some 3,000 buyers. Add to that the collocation of GLM’s San Francisco International Gift Fair, with some 800 exhibitors and 11,000 visitors, and the overall market opportunities multiply significantly for both retailers and vendors.
The new August timing for the Gourmet Housewares Show allows independent retailers to stock their shelves with fresh, exciting, new merchandise for the critical fourth quarter selling season. For larger retailers, it is the first opportunity to preview merchandise and work on important new product presentations for 2010. And for vendors, the show is the only venue during the second half of the year to showcase new products and make numbers for the year.
The message is clear: Trade shows are a winning combination for everyone. Those who participate will capture more business and market share ... those who don’t, won’t. Hope to see you in San Francisco!
Penny Sikalis is the vice president & show manager, GLM, a dmg world media business. She can be reached at PSikalis@glmshows.com .