16 July 2024, 19:57
By Furniture News Dec 15, 2023

The Big Question: What do you want from a trade event?

What do you think? From emerging trends to the latest business principles, Furniture News is setting out to gauge the trade’s feelings on a variety of industry-specific topics. Today, we’re asking our panel: What do you want from a trade event? 

Jonathan Burrage (Hydeline Furniture): Our industry lacks the level of market analytics that other industries enjoy. Improving this would hugely benefit our partners and the consumer

Tim Hobbs (Prestige Furniture Logistics): A good proportion of decision-makers attending

Brian Levitt (Brian Levitt Sales Agencies): To meet up with customers old and new and take some orders

Carole Nolan (Gallery Direct): Good footfall of customers, both current and prospects, so we can show them our products in person – I believe getting to know them and their requirements, as well as allowing them to ‘touch and feel the products, is key to building successful relationships

Gavin Boden (Rhenus Home Delivery UK): Value for money

Andrew Kerr (Siren Furniture): Ultimately ROI, but we don’t consider this to be solely focused on driving sales. We recognise the value in maximising these opportunities to network and build relationships, increase Siren’s profile and establish brand recognition amongst potential customers and industry peers

Greg French (Westgarth Furniture): Sales, and lots of buyers

James Dunne (Prestige Beds): It’s an opportunity to see and try new products and compare similar brands under one roof. We also often gain inspiration for our store displays

Jerry Cheshire (bed and mattress expert): Mainly to view new products and network. However, being able to see speakers offer expert presentations would be an added bonus

Martin Eastwood (Mattress Online): Firstly newness, both in products ready for market and insights into future trends and technology … and a strong representation of brands across the sector to ensure the event delivers maximum return. The opportunity to meet people from manufacturers and relevant organisations, including those who may not be your usual point of contact, is key 

Nichola Hornby Bell (Alpha Designs Upholstery): As exhibitors, we want to see well-organised, well-advertised, value-for-money events where the exhibitors’ needs are taken into accounts as much as the visitors’ – this will encourage more people to exhibit, and therefore more visitors to visit. Surely it’s a bit chicken and egg?

Nick Williams (Sweet Dreams): ROI is the key, and a commitment from the trade in general to attend and support British manufacturers. Without this, trade events are in danger

Paul Little (Airsprung Beds): It’s a great opportunity to show existing and potential customers a side of Airsprung they may not expect

Steve Warren (Sleepeezee): High level of visitors, good competition, lively social interactions and lots of sales

Phil Spademan (BFM): As an organiser of trade events for the furniture industry, it’s vital to provide great all-round content for visitors, enthusiastic exhibitors, new product development, topical seminars and an opportunity to network

Sam Jackson (Bluebone Imports): Harvesting good customer relationships and development of new business – whether that’s new shopfloor displays with existing customers or opening new customer accounts, resulting in improved sales – coupled with understanding what the rest of the industry is doing

Andy Stockwell (Gardiner Haskins): Variety, newness and inspiration. We sometimes place orders at the shows, but more often we order afterwards. But they are vital for seeing what’s new, what the trends are, and for gaining insight into the wider industry

This Q&A was published in the December issue of Furniture News.

Pictured: imm cologne

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