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The fair of the future? A business
Markets are experiencing a wavering trend, domestic consumption is in trouble, and companies are seeking new opportunities and new strategies. And the trade fairs? They certainly aren’t sitting back and watching, that’s for sure; especially Expo Riva Schuh, the Riva del Garda event dedicated to high volume footwear.

AT EXPO RIVA SCHUH, NEW DEVELOPMENTS FOR THE TRADE FAIR INDUSTRY 

This is an assertion backed up by the latest numbers, with the June edition seeing more than 10,600 visitors, a clear confirmation the fair is in excellent health. Even American and Japanese buyers have returned to the Riva event, interested in the collections of the more than 1200 exhibitors who filled the pavilions at the 78th edition.

What is the recipe for success? Above all, Expo Riva Schuh has expanded its offering, involving new countries and dealers from different sectors, and welcoming operators from the entire production and distribution chains. This means buyers have an extremely wide range of strategies to choose from, ranging from the more aditional to the more innovative and aggressive. These days, anticipating which way the market is heading and responding quickly to changes is fundamental for navigating the uncertainties of the market.

Above all though, the concept of a “trade fair” understood as simply renting exhibition spaces is no longer enough: in the age of the Internet and virtual reality, trade fairs have to become real “gateways”, venues that put companies in touch with the international market. Expo Riva Schuh has re-tooled itself along these lines; its role is to facilitate large-scale business networking and enable companies to build and cultivate business contacts both with their “existing” customer base as well as new ones.

The Expo Riva Schuh Visitor Observatory (OVERS) data confirms the importance of providing spaces for meeting and discussion as well as for conducting business, with more than 60% of visitors attending Expo Riva Schuh to meet with the suppliers they already work with. This means that the event is not just a promotional tool for attracting new customers; it is also a very effective communication tool for staying in touch with existing ones. Not that there is any lack of new customers: nearly 17% of visitors reported never having attended Expo Riva Schuh before, or having attended less than 5 editions. In addition to the “extremely loyal event-goers”, there is also a significant percentage of visitors who have started coming to the fair in recent years, remained satisfied, and continue to attend.

By focussing on a diverse offering, increasing internationalisation, and high quality services, Expo Riva Schuh has managed to not only win the loyalty of a new target audience, but also retain the loyalty of its existing customer base. Not an easy task, especially in these difficult times facing all European events in the sector.

The direction is clear: the fair of the future will be a business networking opportunity, one which simultaneously facilitates both traditional and more innovative purchasing strategies. With this knowledge, Expo Riva Schuh embarks on its journey to create the 79th edition, one with even more offerings and services. The event with footwear industry dealers from around the world, and which includes a preview of autumn/winter 2013-14 collections, is scheduled for 12-15 January at Riva del Garda.

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(9/11/2012)

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