The tone for new season trends of the gift and homewares sector will be set at the Reed Gift Fairs Melbourne.

To be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from January 29 to February 1, the fair will connect thousands of Victorian, Tasmanian and South Australian retailers with more than 300 local and national wholesalers exhibiting the latest gift and homewares products.

Exhibition director Omer Soker said the event will be an opportunity for retailers to strengthen their business offering for 2011.
“It has been a challenging time for the sector with rising interest rates, a strong dollar and the compelling nature of online shopping. The market is changing rapidly, and the reality is that both wholesalers and retailers will need to adapt how they do business,” he said.

“Customer satisfaction and creating a positive in-store experience is of paramount importance for retailers, while wholesale businesses should be looking to effectively leverage a web presence in order to maximise their distribution prospects.”

Melbourne February will feature a business development program of short seminars that will provide retailers with an opportunity to gain business advice from Australia’s leading marketers and entrepreneurs.

Debra Templar, who will be presenting on January 30 and 31, will provide tips on how to improve merchandising and engage effectively in social media using e-commerce techniques.

She will offer retailers practical methods to measure the effectiveness of their marketing strategy in order to “make a retailer the first choice business in the customer’s minds”.

She says smart retailers are building their brands and customer loyalty by reaching out to their customers and establishing dialogue using social media tools such as Twitter, FourSquare and Facebook.

Following Melbourne February, Reed Gift Fairs hosts its Sydney February fair at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre from February 19 to March 23.