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Trade fairs are changing: More and more orders are placed after the event

May 27, 2019

Thanks to digitisation, the kind of order trade shows which we once knew are now fulfilling different functions. Today’s trade fairs are moving more towards forming sustainable networks, building trust for long-term collaboration and experiencing products with all five senses. Ordering during the trade fair itself is becoming increasingly secondary and tends to take place more and more just after the event. This trend is also rising among Tendence exhibitors.

Tendence, which will be held in Frankfurt from 29 June to 1 July this year, is a well-established trade show and an important regular event in the business year for many exhibitors and visitors. Over the last few years, event formats have evolved away from traditional order trade shows and are turning into industry events. As well as innovative products and creative inspiration, visitors can enjoy a varied complementary programme that is geared towards their precise needs. This is why Tendence has recently expanded its complementary programme, adding the Tendence Academy. But it now also has numerous other types of events, such as Talents, the Concept Store, the Village, and Paper & Friends – all of which help to create a positive experience of the trade fair. Furthermore, each market segment also has its own programme. Visitors are of course continuing to place orders, but they are increasingly doing so just after the trade fair. “It used to be possible to judge the outcome of a trade fair by the revenue that had been generated by the end of the last day. However, this is no longer possible with today’s trade fairs. In addition to direct orders, there is now a major emphasis on the quantity and quality of visitors and of the conversations with them. The ordering patterns of visitors have changed, and today’s trade fairs also provide information about market developments as well as opportunities for a professional exchange of ideas with exhibitors and with other trade fair visitors. More than ever before, orders are placed at a later stage, either via a B2B shop, through the sales force or in the showroom. Yet a visit to a trade fair will continue to be indispensable for retailers – especially in the face of e-business and changes in the market. Merchandise presentations, special displays, the touch and feel of products, an overview of thousands of items and a vast variety of trends are things which can only be experienced properly in real life,” says Heinz J. Saller, CEO of Casablanca Bocholt.

Exhibitors and visitors networking at Tendence.
Exhibitors and visitors networking at Tendence.

The transformation in the trade fair business can also be felt by Jan Philippi, owner of Philippi: “We exhibit at a lot of trade shows, both in Germany and elsewhere. This will continue to be the case, as the trade fair is still the best platform for talking to customers. It gives us important feedback on our product range, and it enables us to strengthen relationships with customers and, above all, to acquire new ones. Over the past 20 years, the order business has changed considerably. Consultancy and presentation have been gaining in significance, and it’s important to keep offering new things to customers and even give them a surprise from time to time. There’s a great deal of competition, and we want to stand out from the crowd.”

But the change in order patterns is not just a matter of the timing. Sustainability and quality are getting increasingly important for buyers. “Our customers’ ordering patterns have changed, and specialist retailers are now buying from sustainable high-quality manufacturers again. Customers are looking for brand manufacturers who are familiar with their industries and their product portfolios, and so they now tend to avoid general suppliers who import Asian mass products of relatively unspectacular quality and which offer a bit of everything. The current trend goes very much in the direction of quality and fair trade. The end user prefers to buy fewer items, but wants to have products which are special, environmentally sustainable products, in particular. As well as selling Good Weave and ecotex-certified products, PAD acts as a trend maker in the market, offering up to 70% new products, particularly at the start of each season. The merchandise does of course need to fit into the prevailing trend, but it’s equally important that products such as cushions and blankets can be touched and felt, and so an autumn trade fair such as Tendence is indispensable for us. We work in a wonderful industry that impacts every single end user on a daily basis. This starts the moment they get up and touch a towel – something which they take just as much for granted as the water that comes out of the shower. I see it as a gift in my personal daily life that I can add value to everyday life through sustainable quality and individual lifestyle,” says Michael Rossmann from Pad Home Design Concept.

The digital marketplace Nextrade, which was announced in February 2019, addresses precisely the recent change in order patterns. By offering this additional service portfolio to exhibitors and visitors, Messe Frankfurt will be taking an important step towards extending the reach of its trade fairs, as it will be possible to place orders 365 days a year. Nextrade is a standardised digital order and data management tool for suppliers and retailers within a single system. Orders can be placed 24/7, and suppliers keep the details of their products up-to-date via a webshop of their own. It’s a case where a digital platform provides perfectly targeted support to trade fair visitors wanting to place orders in a more up-to-date style. Moreover, it does so in a way that benefits both sides of the market. To demonstrate how it all works, a pilot version of the digital marketplace Nextrade can be viewed at Tendence in Hall 8.0, Stand D10.

Tendence will be held from 29 June to 1 July 2019.

Tendence – ideas for the future of the retail trade combined with the must-haves of the season

Logically arranged by retail channel, lifestyle and target group, Tendence (29 June to 1 July 2019) takes its cue from the needs of consumers. It therefore enables retailers to compile their product ranges in a highly focused manner and to implement them in their own stores, ensuring the success of their business. As a consumer goods trade fair, Tendence demonstrates the latest trends and products in interior design, home accessories, gifts, jewellery, fashion and lifestyle. Retailers benefit from a wide range of inspirations to support their sales as well as a powerful complementary programme. Tendence is the platform for new products, presenting trends for winter and Christmas. At the same time, it is a good opportunity for anyone wanting to place orders in good time for their spring and summer collections.

On the web

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Background information about Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is the world’s biggest trade fair, convention and event organiser with its own premises. It employs a workforce of 2,500* at 30 sites and generates an annual revenue of around EUR 715* million. Thanks to far-reaching ties with the relevant sectors and an international sales network, the Group provides effective support for its customers and their business interests. By offering a wide range of services, both on site and online, Messe Frankfurt gives its global customers a consistently high level of flexible support in planning, organising and running their events. This wide range of services includes renting exhibition premises, trade fair construction and marketing, human resources and food services. The Group has its head office in Frankfurt am Main and is owned partly by the City of Frankfurt (60%) and partly by the State of Hesse (40%).

Further details from:

* Provisional key figures for 2018

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