The IHA/Housewares Export Council’s Trade Missions, held most recently in June 2013 in São Paulo, Brazil and Bogotá, Colombia, allowed vendor attendees to meet one-on-one with buyers in these targeted markets.
The recent International Housewares Association/Housewares Export Council Trade Mission to South America presented a unique opportunity for vendors to get introduced to the markets in Brazil and Colombia through touring the housewares departments in a variety of different types of retailers, including hypermarkets, housewares specialty stores and home improvement stores.
One-on-one meetings with retailers at their buying headquarters or in scheduled meetings at other locations allowed vendors to show product samples directly to buyers for feedback on potential sales, and whether they meet the needs of the South American consumer. For some vendor attendees, it was a follow-up trade mission visit with certain buyers to facilitate reorders or to present complementary products to their existing line in the store.
“The mission of the International Housewares Association is to bring buyers and sellers together and our primary method is through the International Home + Housewares Show, and that leaves the rest of the year open to different types of trade events,” said Derek Miller, vp/international, IHA. He added, “We have a turnkey program so the member attendee only has to focus on selling the products, they don’t have to worry about the logistics or setting up the appointment.”
Combining these meetings with retail tours, the goals of the trade mission is to help attendees understand the market as a whole, see who their competitors are and where their products fit in from a “good, better, best” pricepoint strategy, and to come away with a good network of buyers, whether it be the retailers or distributors. “It makes that second visit much more efficient, as they are able to follow up directly with the buyers most interested in their products,” said Miller.
When there is a need from its members to learn about a particular international market and the trade mission format wouldn’t be appropriate, the IHA has set up other avenues to exhibit their product and connect with distributors and retailers, such as a product pavilion. An IHA Pavilion at Interior Lifestyle China in Shanghai is set from September 25 to 27, 2013 and a “Japanese Market Introduction” is set for Tokyo from September 29 to 30, 2013, an event that brings together Japanese importers, retailers and distributors to one location to meet with vendors, and also includes retail tours.
The next international stop is the HECNA Global Forum, which will be held in Panama City, Panama, September 15 to 18, 2013. The event includes Panama City retail tours, educational seminars, networking sessions, as well as a HECNA buyer reception and tabletop trade show in which IHA and HECNA have invited Central American and Colombian retailers to attend this networking event in which vendors have the chance to promote their company and display their products.
The next trade mission, which is sold out, is to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, in November followed by a South Africa Trade Mission from September 14 to 19, 2014 to Johannesburg and Cape Town, and a return trade mission trip to the same two Australian cities in November of 2014. The 2014 HECNA Global Forum will be held June 9 to 11 in Bogotá.
See HomeWorld’s September 2, 2013, issue for the special report, “Retailing South American Style,” on the International Housewares Association/Housewares Export Council trade mission to Brazil and Colombia.