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Retailers will miss out a lot if they miss IIJS 2021. With 450 new exhibitors and a revived spirit of business, manufacturers will display their best

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IIJS 2021

IIJS 2021 has surprised the trade for many reasons: the highest number of exhibitors ever in the history of the show; forty percent larger show space and shifting base to Bengaluru after a three-decade plus unbeaten stint in Mumbai. Shailesh Sangani, convener, national exhibitions, GJEPC, speaks to Soma Bhatta about the key highlights, trade expectations and why retailers should brave the odds to visit the upcoming show.

Soma Bhatta (SB): IIJS is regarded as the Mecca for trade buyers. What are the biggest points of attraction in IIJS 2021?

Shailesh Sangani (SS): The biggest attraction of IIJS 2021 is its larger scale in physical format; we are having 450 new exhibitors. Consequently, every section including gold, diamond and couture has increased in terms of exposure. Buyers have long valued the enormous range of options available at such shows and the opportunity to spot new trends. It is impossible to do the same digitally. Retailers will miss out a lot if they miss IIJS 2021.

SB: How has GJEPC planned the layout of the booths in order to enhance the experience of visitors?

SS: Since IIJS is starting with new vigor at a new location, we have categorized the exhibits better. Previously, there were discrepancies in terms of adjacencies; it wasn’t uncommon to see a studded gold manufacturer next to a diamond jewellery manufacturer. It stemmed from concerns of space availability and the need to retain ones existing location at the show.

SB: How will GJEPC ensure a smooth, safe experience for visitors across the country in light of Covid?

SS: Firstly, we are only allowing registration to visitors if they have been vaccinated at least once. Post successful registration, they can download the digital badges from the GJEPC app. Additionally, it is compulsory for them to present the Covid-19 negative report in order to visit the show.

Secondly, the Banglore Bangalore International exhibition Centre (BIEC) has about a 40% larger space than the Bombay Exhibition Center, which will help maintain social distancing.

Thirdly, we have also made arrangements for medics to be on duty for any emergencies. We are following all state level protocols for conducting a show of this scale.

SB: The virus has caused an array of difficulties in terms of workforce, particularly for manufacturers. There are concerns that manufacturers may not have innovative and unique designs on display. What is your take on that?

 SS: Manufacturers were hoping for a show like IIJS to revive the spirit and now that it has, we are getting the results. While allotting ground space, we saw each exhibitor reserving only half of the space allotted to them at IIJS Mumbai, which is the minimum requirement for participation. Now, we have over 150 applications for increasing space.

There is a renewed hope in the industry as 60-70% of the Indian jewellery market has opened up already. Demand is growing and the situation is improving with time. Manufacturers are putting their best foot forward in terms of doing new product development.

IIJS 2021

SB: What are the expectations in terms of quality of buyers visiting the show?

SS: We are going to see a huge influx of first-time visitors from the Southern region as jewellers’ from vicinity towns and cities will now find it easier to travel.

It is in addition to the large number of visitors from across other parts of the country. We have already reserved 16 hotels totaling over 4,000 room nights per day for all five days of the show. I believe there will be a significant improvement in the quality of buyers as it is the first of its kind large format show since the onset of Covid-19 in early 2020.

SB: IIJS has often been charged with monopolistic practices in order to regulate participation of its exhibitors in other shows. Please comment.

SS: The question of monopoly doesn’t arise as participants have the complete discretion to get exposure at any other show. The council, as per the consensus of the members, restricts the participation 15 days prior or after the IIJS show.

 If a participant informs the council of his desire to take part in another show, he is free to do so and will get full refund. However, such companies will have to wait their turn whenever they decide to next participate as there is always a long waiting list. They will not enjoy the privileges conferred on regular exhibitors that gives them the first right of refusal to reserve booth space at the show.

More importantly, setting stalls in multiple B2B shows ruins the exclusivity the organizer offers to the visitors, some of whom travel great distances to find something unique at our shows. GJEPC thus upholds exclusivity and urges exhibitors to focus on one show at a time to create greater value for all associated with the show. It is a justified and reasonable pre-condition.

SB: There are already so many B2B exhibitions by other associations. With GJEPC getting into newer show formats, will there be a problem of plenty in the trade?

SS: It is a collective decision by the GJEPC members to reach out to wider markets hitherto unexplored by IIJS. We are cognizant of the fact that many retailers are more comfortable exploring buying opportunities in their region and do not travel to Mumbai. Taking the show to newer regions opens up new possibilities for the industry as a whole.

As far as market saturation of shows is concerned, GJEPC aligns with the larger industry demand for better buyer-seller interaction through such shows and encourages every association to do their bits accordingly.

Courtesy: Retail Jeweller India News Service

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