The International Housewares Association, faced with a ticking clock and mounting concerns less than two weeks before The Inspired Home Show, was left with no choice but to cancel the show in the face of the fast-escalating coronavirus outbreak.
We can debate whether or not reaction to this health crisis, which certainly is real and serious, was overamplified by factors outside the control of any trade association, suppliers and retailers. The resultant worries are no less real, however, and they reached such an elevated level that the call for immediate safeguards, combined with mounting business travel restrictions, could not be ignored.
The decision to cancel the show, though, doesn’t negate the diligent preparation by the IHA and some 2,000 planned exhibitors. Even in the face of a production-disrupting quarantine in China, suppliers were undeterred and ready with a bounty of new products and marketing ideas to share with key customers.
Such preparation should not go unheeded by retailers unable, for now, to get first-hand previews of the latest products and programs.
Large vendors might already have direct access to their primary customers, but smaller and mid-sized companies relish every chance they can get for face-time with buyers and merchandise management. For many such suppliers, a single show can be the difference between a breakthrough order and a lost opportunity.
That’s why each and every exhibitor, from the smallest to the largest, needs to find ways to bring the show to retailers— to provide existing and prospective customers with every bit of product detail and marketing flourish that was planned for the McCormick Place exhibit floor.
Moreover, and this is critically important, retailers, facing possible inventory shortages amid the supply chain disruption, should feel extra motivation to hear from and listen to as many existing and prospective vendors as possible. This is each retailer’s chance to pursue with zeal the type of game-changing discoveries that can make a show so rewarding.
HomeWorld Business, for its part, was prepared with its usual, comprehensive product, trend and news coverage during the show. The March 11 edition of HomeWorld, the largest single publication serving the housewares business, will be mailed to housewares retailers across the continent. Plus, with so much more content originally set to be delivered during the show, HomeWorld will feature extensive coverage of new products and vendor marketing strategies on HomeWorldBusiness.com.
It’s our way of helping to bring the show’s content to our readers, who still crave and need such detailed information to help guide assortments, promotions and other key decisions.
The housewares industry consistently demonstrates its resolve and resilience during challenging situations.
Not everything is out of your control. This is an important opportunity to show it.