TRADE FAIRS – Connect @ Autumn Fair set to be a transformational new approach to buying at trade shows

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Autumn Fair, a leading UK marketplace for wholesale home, gift, and fashion taking place from the 3rd – 6th September 2023, sees the launch of Connect @ Autumn Fair.

Endorsed by leading UK retailers such as John Lewis, WHSmith and Choice, Connect @ Autumn Fair is a transformational new approach to buying, designed to revolutionise the traditional trade show model by connecting retailers and brands on a scale never achieved before. 

As the definitive ‘shop for shops’, Autumn Fair organised by Hyve Group plc, has supported the retail industry for over 30 years. The home, gift and fashion markets are worth billions of pounds and Autumn Fair is where retail’s bestsellers are found, relationships are forged, products are launched, new ideas and the latest trends for bricks and mortar and e-commerce stores are discovered. 

From this September, Connect @ Autumn Fair will lead the way for the retail community and transform the buying experience by fuelling thousands of pre-arranged buying meetings before the show even opens. Viewed as the dawn of a new era for retailers, Connect @ Autumn Fair will connect thousands of the UK’s leading buyers and retailers with all 600+ Autumn Fair exhibitors before the show. Buyers will be able to discover the brands and products their businesses need, by selecting from hundreds of data points important to them. Exhibitors can create leads, orders, and opportunities with the buyers they want to meet most – all in an incredibly efficient and effective way – turning chance meetings into guaranteed connections. 

TRADE FAIRS – Connect @ Autumn Fair set to be a transformational new approach to buying at trade shows

Ellen Bonsink, Buyer, WHSmith says; “I think Connect @ Autumn Fair will be really good. It’ll be really easy for us as buyers to be in the right hall at the right time so we’re not lost or missing suppliers. It sounds like it’ll be nice to have a curated programme so we can find the best products and find suppliers who are a good match for the business, rather than leave it to chance and miss suppliers.”

Sophie Burton, Buyer, John Lewis adds; “I would definitely get involved with Connect. It’s great to get a tailored schedule ahead of the day’s events.”

Over 6,000 meetings are anticipated to take place at Autumn Fair. Each meeting is 15 minutes long and all meetings are double opt-in, meaning both parties have agreed to meet. Meetings take place on the stand, so buyers can explore the full product range. Buyers can participate in as many double opt-in 15-minute meetings as they’d like limited only by availability and mutual interest. If more than 15 minutes is required, a follow-up meeting can be arranged at or after the show.

Nicola Meadows, Portfolio Director at Spring & Autumn Fair says, “Buyer’s time is precious, and justifying time away from the retailing space has never been harder. Connect @ Autumn Fair changes all this. Visiting a trade show should not be about chance; buyers can now source and plan their time at the show in advance, and know they are meeting suppliers that will meet their needs. With access to extensive information on every exhibitor and product category, from origin and sustainability credentials to pricing and minimum order values, retailers will be able to pre-select meetings with brands whose products most suit their needs. Exhibitors will, for the first time ever, be able to discover and connect with buyers, based on over 100 datapoints. Through this revolutionary meetings programme, powered by cutting-edge but easy to use technology, we connect the right people, at the right time, and deliver game-changing impact to our customers, their businesses and their industries. With Connect, we remove all the potential anxiety, and the element of the unknown, and allow buyers and exhibitors to be prepared and informed. This is the biggest investment we have ever made in Spring & Autumn Fair’s history. Connect @ Autumn Fair is ripping up the rule book on events and creating value our customers didn’t realise was possible.”

Sarah Ward, CEO of the Giftware Association is equally positive of the impact of the launch on the industry; “Connect @ Autumn Fair is the evolution of the trade show model that the retail industry needs. Exhibitors will be able to find and meet more interested buyers more easily, creating more opportunities and ultimately doing more business! Being able to fully promote their product ranges, price points and delivery times before the event in the Connect @ Autumn Fair platform and pre-schedule meetings with buyers they want to meet is a step change in helping exhibitors and buyers get the most out of Autumn Fair. I believe that this is what the industry has been missing.”

John Halliday, Director of Membership & Marketing at British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) is positive about the benefits on ROI and time; “Bira is delighted to see Hyve further investing into the Spring & Autumn Fair programme. The new meetings tool, Connect @ Autumn Fair, will provide all exhibitors and visitors with a completely new experience and position the show as a sector leader. The technology behind this new platform will fundamentally transform the event experience, enabling a far better return on time, investment, and value. This is a no brainer and will enable companies to search, meet and do business on their stand with the right people at the right time.”

Feedback from buyers has been positive as they welcome the time efficiencies and the revolutionary approach to buying.

Jason Farmer, Buyer, Choice Ltd; “Connect @ Autumn Fair sounds really good. I think it’s good that it’s opt in opt out, so you can pick suppliers and they can pick you, instead of wasting time on someone who might not be on the same wavelength. I think that’s fantastic.”

Niel, Buyer and Merchandise Manager, Denby Retail; “Connect @ Autumn Fair sounds really good. It sounds like a good way of finding new suppliers without doing the leg work for it. We’re really excited by it.”

Peter Allinson, CEO, Whirlgig Toys; “Connect @ Autumn Fair sounds great for me. It means I get a really detailed conversation with someone and they’re prepared to meet me. It means they’ve done their homework and I’ve done mine and we can actually talk about something that’s relevant.”

Priya Crowe, Buyer, Lark London; “Connect @ Autumn Fair sounds brilliant because it enables you to plan your day and speak to the people you really need to.”

Connect @ Autumn Fair is powered by the leading meetings technology company Personatech, that developed and operates the largest meetings programmes for retail events including ShopTalk and GroceryShop. 

For buyers to join Connect @ Autumn Fair, the first step is to register for a FREE ticket to Autumn Fair. Registration opens in April 2023. Or book in a call with Autumn Fair’s community development team on Tel: +44 20 3545 9735 to find out more today. 

For more information on Connect @ Autumn Fair visit Connect @ Autumn Fair Suppliers – Autumn Fair 2023.

TRADE FAIRS – Connect @ Autumn Fair set to be a transformational new approach to buying at trade shows