The consensus amongst exhibitors was that the timing of the show offered an ideal platform to launch new ranges to the UK market. The resounding opinion of retailers is that the industry needs an autumn show. Overall both exhibitors and visitors agree that the move back to London was a good one - but one that needs to be built upon and adapted to the needs of the visitor.
The BPA realises that it needs to deliver a show that ticks all the boxes and welcomes feedback on this year's show. A visitor survey will be sent out shortly inviting opinions. The Association intends to use this information to plan its strategy for 2010 which will be determined in conjunction with industry leaders. The aim is to mould next year's show into one that meets everyone's needs.
Peter White, Chief Executive of the BPA commented: "The Association needs to reflect on the show and build upon the positive aspects. We have a real opportunity to come together and give the retailers and exhibitors what they want in the coming years. To do this however we need the support of the members."
"We have fantastic foundations on which to build, the fact is that this year's show offered a huge variety of market-leading and innovative products. Visitors at the show could return to their stores knowing they had seen everything and had not missed a hidden gem that could be ideal for their establishments."
This was coupled with many glowing reports from exhibitors:
Paul Hillary of Haptic (Taggies,) commented: "This is our fifth successive show as we've exhibited at BPA Baby & Child since 2005. By day two, the show proved to be our best trade show ever in terms of orders- including Kind + Jugend, Cologne, Bubble, Premier Kids and Top Drawer. It has been the biggest show, not just in terms of orders, but has opened 15 new accounts for us, plus range reviews with two key customers."
Paul Walters from Tippitoes added: We feel it is important to support the BPA and its show, it provides an opportunity to meet with customers and showcase new products. We were delighted with the reaction to our new lines on show and with the level of orders placed across our range. People who don't support the show are missing out on these opportunities and we have no doubt from an order point of view their loss is our gain."
Andrew Ratcliffe from Dorel noted: "In all the talk of a recession we were pleased with attendance and there was a real buzz at the show. It was great to see a queue of customers waiting to see our sales team."
Peter Shaw from Hippychick summarised: "Sunday was one of our biggest days ever with new accounts and very steady business. Overall we are very pleased."
There were many other highlights for the show too. On the first day companies with short-listed products in the prestigious BACRA awards waited in anticipation while the judges perused their products prior to declaring the winners. The judging of course was followed by a lavish awards dinner at the Guoman Tower Hotel, where an enjoyable party ensued with the BACRAs and Nursery Retailers of the Year being recognised.
The Concept & Innovation stand was also a hive of activity throughout the entire three days, with the short-listed and winning products attracting a huge amount of interest from retailers and distributors alike. Like its predecessor ‘The Wean
Machine', it will undoubtedly be sooner rather than later that this year's winning product - Chillipeeps - will be hitting retailers' shelves.
Social media and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) are definitely the hot topics of the moment and two seminars, which ran throughout the duration of the show, received a huge amount of interest from both visitors and exhibitors. Site Wizard gave tips and advice on how to get your website to the top of Google Search Engines, while Effectivate explained how sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be used in your marketing strategy. Next year it is intended to have seminars that are equally leading-edge.
In summary, the industry has a show that not only supports its exhibitors and offers a diverse range of facilities, but it is one that retailers wish to see remain. By working together, the membership of the BPA can ensure the Baby & Child returns to being the trade show at the cornerstone of the industry.
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