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Focus on new retail strategies at the event's opening talk

To analyse the changes that are taking place in the footwear distribution sector in an increasingly global and inter-connected context, will be the objective of the meeting entitled; “New strategies for footwear distribution: heading towards omni-channel retailing.” The debate will take place at 11:00 am in the Conference Room of the Riva del Garda Exhibition Centre, kicking off the 88th edition of Expo Riva Schuh.

The debate will be moderated by Andrea Cabrini, director of Class CNBC, and will cover the spectrum of new distribution strategies that are emerging in the footwear sector. The speaker will be Daniel Agis Branchi, expert and consultant in marketing, distribution and omnichannel strategist, and there will be a dialogue with Giovanni Laezza, Managing Director of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, and Carla Costa, Exhibitions Manager of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi.

The growth of e-commerce channels, changes in the role of sales outlets and product evolution have resulted in mono-channel distribution policies being overtaken. Multi-channel retaili.e. the management of multiple sales formats, has therefore become a key aspect for any company involved in the fashion and footwear markets. This trend is the outcome of the idea that each sales outlet satisfies different purchasing requirements but relating to the same consumer. The evolution of this concept has, therefore, led towards omni-channel retailing, which satisfies the consumer’s demand to be served in different ways, at different times and in different places, yet with purchasing experiences that are consistent, not only in terms of price, but also concerning the less tangible aspects.

On the way towards achieving omni-channel retailing, the matter of integration between on-line and off-line sales channels will certainly present one of the greatest challenges. If, in the early stages, the on-line channel was considered as an alternative to traditional distribution, and likewise to any other physical shop, it was seen as a means of entry into the market. Subsequently, e-commerce was viewed as a transversal support channel. The on-line sales channel has therefore become one which complements and integrates with the others, performing a specific function in terms of sales and service. If it is true that the on-line shopping experience is very different to the off-line experience, then it is equally important that the two practices should be complementary and not just two alternatives. Each channel caries out a different function, which fits in with the others, and this is the very trend towards omni-channel retailing that is shaping today’s market.   

In a scenario where the need to co-ordinate and manage different distribution channels harmoniously becomes a fundamental strategic variable, then events such as Expo Riva Schuh can carve out a key role for themselves, thanks to their ability to coordinate the entire supply chain. Despite that fact that the digital revolution is changing habits, practices and the balance of the trade fair sector too, exhibitions have not only maintained, but have also reinforced their role as a meeting point between supply and demand, as well as between the various components of the same production and distribution chain. It is therefore no surprise that over the past years, Expo Riva Schuh has seen an increased number of visitors coming from professional categories outside of the tradition target audience of the event: not just producers and representatives from large chains, but also retailers, private label producers and, naturally, representatives from the major e-commerce channels. The fair itself therefore becomes a chance to study market trends and develop strategies that are not only efficient, but above all, shared.