GianPaola Pedretti, Exhibition Manager of the Riva fair, explains how the event has once again become the reference for the footwear and accessories business internationally.
How do you convince the world to come back to Italy, to Riva del Garda, to buy shoes, bags and fashion accessories after everything has been stuck for two years? That's the question the Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags staff focused on, and it was answered by a dense network of agents/representatives activated by the fair in every part of the world and the incoming buyer work done thanks to the unfailing support of Agenzia ITA/ICE, which has invested in promoting Italian exports on international markets.
"Effectively we have worked a lot on the theme of internationalization", confirms GianPaola Pedretti, Exhibition Manager of the event. "We have looked abroad to involve both exhibitors and visitors, so as to achieve the fundamental objective of proposing on the one hand a representative offer of the entire footwear market and on the other hand winning over those who move the demand pool. We thus offer increasingly international, curated, profiled and precise matching with respect to buyers' needs. Our aim is not just to fill the aisles of the fair, but to create new business opportunities by facilitating valuable business relationships.
Our work is aimed at thoroughly understanding buyers' needs and having a basket of suppliers at the fair that offers multiple proposals, so as to ensure that everyone can find what they are looking for”.
What resources have you activated to hit the target?
"It would have been impossible to achieve the goal by working exclusively from the Riva del Garda offices. In order to deepen our knowledge of the various squares and maintain a constant observatory capable of providing precise indications regarding the needs of the various markets, it became necessary to organize a network of people who preside over a territory by being physically present on site. Very quickly we equipped ourselves with a network of 12 foreign representatives, whom we call delegates, covering more than 30 countries. Thanks to them and agreements made with various trade associations, we now boast a presidium in many territories”.
Which countries can we expect to find at the fair during the next edition?
"It is not possible to mention them all, but I try to name at least a few. From Southeast Asia we will have very good participation from India, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. We will host buyers from Australia, for the first time selected by our delegates. The same will happen with buyers from China and the Hong Kong region. This is good news since we usually talk about China thinking only of sourcing (which will be very present at the fair anyway since it will double the number of Chinese exhibitors compared to last January, thanks to the reopening of travel).
I would also mention the presence of buyers from Africa, particularly North Africa, especially Egypt, but also from Central Africa, thanks to the large delegation from Kenya. The substantial presence of buyers from South America cannot be omitted”.
At the European level, what is the situation looking forward?
"Consolidated the presence of buyers from northern Europe, with a large participation from England. I would also name Spain, which will be present at the fair with a good representation of retailers who are members of the local trade association. This is a result of the work of synergy between the local delegate and the resumption of the Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags Around the World initiative, which has seen and will see the event's organizing staff visiting associations, companies and international events firsthand”.
In addition to incoming buyers, what other initiatives have you put in place to foster business?
"We will be reintroducing the Market Focus initiative designed to facilitate an agile meeting between exhibitors and buyers. We think it is interesting for buyers to have an exclusive and confidential meeting time with a limited number of exhibitors that they will probably not have planned in their visit schedule. The countries we will focus on will be Latin America, Far East, Kenya, Northern Europe, and the United States, to which we will add the focus on the product type Bags and Fashion Accessories.
Also renewed is the appointment with Trend Focus, coordinated by journalist Claudia Schulz. In this edition she will provide buyers with useful pointers with respect to products to buy if you operate in the DACH market (Germany, Austria and Switzerland).
Will you also continue to focus on the theme of retail innovation?
"Absolutely, yes. It is another topic that we believe will be of great interest to buyers, who will not only have the opportunity to meet their potential partners and suppliers, but also to learn about innovative tools and effective strategies to improve their business”.