Exhibition "Fashion Industry" – a new impetus for development
Due to its specifics, the fashion industry is subject to constant changes and transformations. Changing the ways of searching and buying clothes, consumers are increasingly going beyond the classic marketing funnel. Alyona Sofiyskaya, director of the Fashion Industry exhibition, talks about how to respond to a new way of customers, get new customers and at the same time earn, not spend.
Alyona, how do you explain the stunning success of the spring exhibition, and what plans are you making for the fall?
– I am more restrained in assessing the results of the last event and, despite the fact that we really set a record for the attendance of the exhibition (more than 7,500 B2C and B2B customers) and noticeably improved the quality of the audience, there are areas that need to be developed. There are also areas that are developing successfully. The main result for us, as organizers, is, first of all, the effectiveness of the event for participating firms, 95% of which not only replenished the base of wholesale customers, but also received revenue that repeatedly covers the costs of participation in the exhibition. So, Director of the company Merselis Elena Ishutina believes that the exhibition "Fashion Industry" has a very good payback and the effect of it corresponds to both their costs and expectations.
The head of the representative office of the Belarusian company "Oval" in the Russian Federation, Vadim Alikhanov, confirmed that the revenue has repeatedly exceeded the cost of participation. Director of the Bergamo company Svetlana Zhizhina described her participation in the exhibition as follows: "In general, the spring exhibition was very fruitful, we sold everything we brought, and the profit received exceeded the costs by 3-4 times. Both our wholesale and retail customers were satisfied, and we ourselves received great moral satisfaction from participating in it."
Or here is another eloquent confirmation of my words from the head of the Perm factory "Elizabeth" Svetlana Bashkurova: "During the spring exhibition, we managed to implement everything planned by 150%. About 300 retail and 5-6 wholesale customers usually pass through our stand a day, and at the March exhibition there were almost 2 times more of them. Almost all wholesale customers have placed large orders with us."
How do you think the behavior of buyers has changed and how has it affected the Fashion Industry exhibition?
– Here you need to separate b2b and b2c audiences.
Pros are increasingly picky and well-informed thanks to the rapid growth of digital channels. But, despite the brand dependence, it is at the exhibition that they are most open to influence decision-making. Today, the actual goal of marketing is to attract consumers at those moments when they are ready to buy. The participants of the exhibition, meeting with buyers face to face, have the opportunity to show their individuality and start building relationships. Not all customers will buy the product directly at the stand, but they will be much more responsive to subsequent marketing efforts.
End customers are looking for a replacement for the departed brands, while not willing to sacrifice quality. High-quality, expensive clothes made of fabrics with a good natural composition were in high demand at the exhibition. "Our traditional bestseller is products made of 100% wool. We realized for ourselves a long time ago that St. Petersburg is a city where 100% wool is in demand all year round," says Vadim Alikhanov from the Oval company. Traditionally, visitors left the exhibition with full packages and a good mood. People lack positive emotions, so the strategy that we call happyenomics, will be justified for the coming years.
What do you think attracts visitors to the exhibition?
– This is an interesting assortment, the emotionally positive atmosphere of the Expoforum, seminars for different target segments, the strength of the Fashion Industry brand. "Petersburgers really like to go to exhibitions. “Fashion Industry” is now located in a good location, free travel is organized, which, of course, increases loyalty. People are happy to attend this event," says Svetlana Zhizhina, Director of Bergamo.
From the new – the transition from one–sided communication with consumers to two-way communication, recommendations of stylists based on new customer needs and as a result, positive rumor.
How do you position the exhibition in relation to digital marketing channels?
– It seems to me that the exhibitors themselves are to blame for the fact that there is a lot of confusion in this issue. By creating online exhibitions, the organizers decided to compete with digital and forgot about the undeniable advantages of an offline event: personal contact and the willingness of the audience to buy. The exhibition is an independent niche event in which digital channels are additional channels of advertising, promotion and sales.
The advantage of exhibitions is that they allow you to break through to customers through the "digital noise" and in this sense are experiencing a real renaissance. "We come to the exhibition for communication and feedback. We don't see anything better than personal communication in an exhibition format. Online cannot replace live communication with customers," Ekaterina Kaurova, Head of Sales Department at Palla factory, confirms my idea.
We create events as a marketing tool that allows participants to reach target consumers in the shortest way and get a point of contact at the moment when it is most effective, while getting a good cache. And who knows, maybe the exhibition will be the impetus for your next great business idea!
What goals do you set for yourself in the near future?
– We set ourselves two ambitious goals – to expand the exposition by 30% and increase the number of visitors to 14,000 people!