The 14th annual DISTREE EMEA channel event has opened its doors, providing vendors, retail buyers and distributors with a place to do business, network and explore the latest market trends.
But what can we expect from this year's show? PCR caught up with event director Alexandra Sinson to find out.
What makes DISTREE different from a traditional trade show?
We bring together hundreds of consumer tech brands in one place at one time. These range from start- ups to established multinational corporations, but they all have one thing in common: a desire to manage, build or launch their sales through volume channels in the EMEA region.
To help them achieve this, DISTREE EMEA 2016 invites senior executives and buyers from the leading consumer technology distributors, retailers, etailers and online marketplaces to attend the event. Then we give all delegates – vendors and channel partners – access to an online one-on-one meeting scheduler prior to the event.
How is DISTREE EMEA changing?
The wider go-to-market ecosystem will be fully represented at DISTREE EMEA. This now includes online marketplaces, logistics and fulfilment specialists, group buying sites and a range of marketing services providers. DISTREE EMEA 2016 will give participating brands a unique opportunity to meet a wide range of companies capable of improving their consumer reach and sales volumes.
What product areas will DISTREE EMEA 2016 focus on?
DISTREE EMEA is committed to covering the full range of consumer tech products sold through volume channels. This ranges from core technology categories such as laptops, tablets and smartphones and related accessories through to new and emerging areas. Fast- growing product categories including wearables, drones, audio and smart home products will be allocated more space within the exhibition area in 2016.
What sort of conference programme takes place at DISTREE EMEA?
We have a range of keynotes, workshops, panels and briefings that delegates can register for and build into their personalised agenda.
Event partner GfK will deliver an opening keynote, plus two workshops and a lunch briefing during DISTREE EMEA. In addition, CONTEXT will host the Smart Channels Summit, which will focus on the role of the retail channel in the delivery of smart technologies, solutions and services to consumers. This is a focus area for 2016 as we see a proliferation of connected devices and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions come to market.
There will also be a special vendor briefing session at DISTREE EMEA where channel experts from each sub-region will provide an update on market conditions in the territories they cover.
What about awards programmes?
DISTREE EMEA 2016 will include a series of awards programmes designed to identify rising stars, hot new products, best-in-class brands as well as distributors and retailers that have excelled in the EMEA region during the previous year.
These include the DISTREE Diamond Awards, the Fresh new technology showcase, hosted by Sightline Group, and the ‘60 Seconds to Convince’ awards will give a number of exhibitors the chance to deliver a one-minute elevator pitch to the entire DISTREE EMEA delegate base, with the winners determined by a live electronic vote. The EMEA Channel Academy: 2016 Awards recognise distributors, retailers and etailers for channel excellence and will take place for the eighth consecutive year in 2016.
Do you see any fundamental changes happening in the channel and are these reflected in the planning of the event each year?
The channel is constantly evolving and anyone that does not see that and adapt accordingly will be left behind. That’s why we keep talking about the go-to- market ecosystem. The pace of change is accelerating and companies need to keep their options open and explore all opportunities. This year’s hot new products could be a crowdfunded start-up that is sold through a pan-European online marketplace by a regional distributor. What we’re seeing is that traditional distributors, retailers and etailers need to become more proactive with business planning and managing vendor portfolio.
We also believe that wearables will be big in 2016. We’re seeing disties in Europe such as Tech Data in the UK establishing dedicated teams to address this fast-growing market. DISTREE EMEA will provide the link that allows wearables brands from around the world to meet the channel partners that can order significant volumes and raise their brand awareness.