Details on next week's trade show in Monaco

Distree EMEA 2015 preview: Director Farouk Hemraj talks event changes

Channel trade show Distree EMEA 2015 takes place in Monaco from February 24th to 27th – we talk to director Farouk Hemraj about the show.

What changes can we expect to see this year?

Farouk Hemraj: One of the main changes is the increasing number of retail buyers and executives that are choosing to attend the event – we’re seeing companies like Euronics, Amazon and Darty all attending, as well as new players such as Lick from France.

Distree EMEA has become a major purchasing event and a powerful opportunity for all retailers and e-tailers to identify new brands that they can work with. In addition, it is also important for established brands to use the event to showcase new products and maintain and extend their existing relationships with retailers and e-tailers.

In categories such as wearables, smart home products and connected devices, all distributors, retailers and e-tailers need to stay ahead of the curve and up to speed with the latest technology developments. Product lifecycles are getting faster and new brands – some with the capability of becoming category killers – can emerge very quickly.

How is the event structured?

We aim to take the randomness out of the event experience. You won’t see exhibitors standing idly at a booth hoping their perfect channel partner comes along. And you won’t find distributors, retailers and e-tailers wandering aimlessly around the exhibition area. Distree EMEA is an exclusive, trade-only, invitation-only event for senior executives and buyers from distributors, retailers and e-tailers.

In the weeks leading up to the event, every single delegate – vendors and channel partners – uses our powerful web platform to research the attendees, book pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings and build a unique personal agenda suited to their own precise business needs. 

There is also an extensive conference and workshop programme including keynotes from research houses such as GfK and presentations from leading retail players such as Darty. GfK will also run a series of workshop sessions and also run a new GfK Clinic service where delegates can book a one-on-one appointment to discuss their own specific business issues with a GfK expert.

This year’s show also includes the Smart Channels Summit hosted by Context, which will assess how the retail channel in Europe is evolving to sell wearables, connected devices and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to consumers. 

We’ve also got specific breakout sessions on wearables, M&A trends in EMEA channels, the Retail-to-Business (R2B) channel, new channel models and more.

Is DISTREE EMEA just a showcase for prototypes and new products? What’s the core focus?

That’s an interesting question and I think we’re starting to see the product mix that is displayed at Distree EMEA begin to change. In the past, there was a focus on products that were ‘ready for retail’ – packaged, available and ready to ship. Now, we’re starting to see more interest from brands that are at the beginning of their product lifecycle that may be at the prototype stage or even just the idea stage.

With product lifecycles shortening all the time, brands need to set up their channels quickly and efficiently and Distree EMEA helps them do this.

We will be running the ‘Fresh’ new products showcase session on the main stage at Distree EMEA in association with The Sightline Group. This is an opportunity for new companies and new brands to display prototypes and products that may not yet be available in the market. We’ve also got the ‘60 Seconds to Convince Awards’ where participating vendors deliver an elevator pitch for their latest products. The dedicated wearables session will also feature some of the latest products ready to make an impact in EMEA consumer channels.

Distree EMEA will also host the ‘EMEA Channel Academy: 2015’ Awards Gala Dinner on Thursday February 26th. Can you tell us more about that?

We’ve always tried to create open and transparent awards designed to reward channel excellence in EMEA. There are three sets of award categories for vendors, distributors and retailers. At the Gala Dinner there is a live electronic vote where retailers and distributors vote for vendor of the year across 17 product categories. The nominations process closed today and we will have a shortlist of five vendors per category. This year we have added new categories for portable speakers, smart watches, smart health products and mobile power products among others to encompass new categories and cover the diversity that now exists in the accessories space.

With close to 1000 executives attending Distree EMEA, the ‘EMEA Channel Academy: 2015 Awards’ will be a great occasion and a chance for the industry as a whole to reflect on what has happened in the last 12 months. We look forward to welcoming all delegates to Monaco later this month. 

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