All you need to know about BaselWorld

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Our guide to business, beers and bartering at the world’s top fair.

It’s that time of year again when the global watch and jewellery community convenes in a town where the Swiss, German and French borders meet for a celebration of art, craftsmanship, precision, engineering and opulence. What’s not to love?

BaselWorld is characterised by lavish parties and stands the size of buildings. But it has been a challenging year for the industry and talk of fewer brands, lower visitor numbers and less extravagance has been rife, despite denial from the show’s organisers.

“Our exhibitors are not making savings at BaselWorld but are cutting back on other expenditure worldwide, refraining from taking part in other events,” says BaselWorld show director Sylvie Ritter. “Our show has even gained strength through the crisis.”

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In the early months of 2010, confidence has been creeping back up, with the atmosphere at trade shows positively buoyant. So BaselWorld could be bigger and better than expected.

Regardless of speculation, everyone attending BaselWorld is there for one reason and one reason only: profits. So to maximise your visit, we have some essential reading: find out how to get the best deal with suppliers, take a look at how inviting shoppers to BaselWorld can boost retailers’ bottom lines, and discover where to wine and dine clients.

NEW TO BASELWORLD?

WHAT IS IT? The biggest watch and jewellery event in the world.

WHERE IS IT? Basel, Switzerland.

WHEN? March 18-25.

WHY GO? As BaselWorld is the biggest international watch and jewellery show of the year, many brands hold off launches until this time, so to make sure you’ve got a front row seat for all the 2010 products you have to be in Basel. Plus it’s a great chance to network with the international watch and jewellery community – all the major players in the market will be there.

REASONS TO AVOID? If you want low-priced, mass-market jewellery then this is not the show for you – think luxe jewellery brands and high-flying watch players. Attending the show can be pricey, so if your budget is tight this year then this might be an expense too far.

ONE TIP? At BaselWorld you can’t just walk onto a stand and start chatting up a supplier. Most exhibitors at the show require you to book appointments in advance so don’t go without making a few calls in advance.

 

SAVVY SUPPLY CHAIN – BARTERING IN BASEL

Trade shows can be a war zone and to make sure you come out victorious at BaselWorld, the age-old practice of haggling should be very much at the forefront of your mind. Here’s how…

Research
How does the supplier’s prices compare with the competition, does it have a solid consumer marketing plan, how good is its point-of-sale material? Knowledge is king and good research will make it harder for potential partners to slip things by you.

Plan
Write a list about what you want to get out of the meeting. As well as thinking about prices, remember that value should not just be measured in monetary terms. Extended credit terms or sale-or-return options can help improve your cash flow, or if the brand offers staff training or can subsidise local ad campaigns then this can increase your end sales and profits

Poker face
Don’t accept the first offer. Instead, go lower than you need to. If they accept then you are a haggling superstar, if you don’t then they will take the negotiations seriously and barter back.

Brag
Don’t be shy to brag about your business. Helping the brand to visualise your potential as a stockist is invaluable. For key brands it might persuade them to take you on as a stockist over your neighbour. Or it might get you better terms if the supplier believes your orders are likely to grow with your business.

Buddy up
Making friends with suppliers will make negotiations easier in future, and you never know what benefits you might receive just by being a supplier’s favourite retailer to deal with.

Keep quiet
Finally, it’s time to employ the icy stare and ask for the supplier’s final offer. At all costs, remain silent after you deploy this phrase. When the silence is broken, hopefully by the supplier, a winner will be identified and you can walk away proud in the knowledge that you secured the best deal you could.

 

FRESH BUSINESS IDEA – BRING YOUR CUSTOMERS TO BASELWORLD

BaselWorld is all about the wow factor. Pedestrians gaping at the Breitling aquarium or hypnotised into a standstill by the dazzling Swarovski stand are often on the receiving end of body blows doled out by veterans buzzing between meetings. And with 2,973 journalists reporting from the 2009 show alone, there is a big chance that many consumers have heard of BaselWorld.

The allure of this secret world of exquisite jewels and the world’s finest timepieces will have enthusiasts drooling from the mouth, so why not bring them along?

By taking customers to BaselWorld, you are connecting them directly with the pomp and glamour of the industry. This will always have a fiercer effect than any second-hand explanation, no matter how inspiring, that you deliver back in your shop.

This is exactly what retailer Ogden of Harrogate is doing for the first time this year. The independent retailer is taking six of its watch-enthusiast customers on a tour of the show and will introduce them to the latest watches from brands such as Glashütte, Fortis and Breguet.

Ogden of Harrogate manager Jonathan Scatchard explains that it’s all about fuelling customers’ passion for the products.

“Customers have a high level of knowledge now and Basel is the Mecca for people with a real passion and interest,” says Scatchard. “People are always desperate to hear about it when we get back from Basel – they want to know what we’ve seen.”

The customers are making their own way to Basel but once there the team at Ogden of Harrogate will take them on a guided tour and they may even get to meet up with some of their favourite watch brands for a glass of champagne on the stands.

Once the group of shoppers has done the rounds at BaselWorld the trip will be rounded off with a weekend break in Zürich and then back to England, where they will no doubt start planning which watches to order through their favourite local retailer.

 

WINING AND DINING IN BASEL

Looking for a place to rest your weary feet or somewhere to take clients out? Why not try these eateries and drinking holes out for size…

When in Rome: Osteria Acqua and Baracca Zermatt at the BaselWorld Village, Binningerstrasse 14 (get the free shuttle to BaselWorld Village from the show)

New and trendy: Zur Mägd, St. Johanns-Vorstadt 29

Closest to show: Jeffery’s Thai Restaurant, Riehenring 77

Networking heaven: Fair & Square (often referred to as Pickwicks), Clarastrasse 56

 

MY FAVOURTIE BASEL RESTAURANT, by QVC director of merchandising Judy Deuchar

Steinbock, Centralbahnstrasse 19
Deuchar says: “The restaurant is casual and affordable, very low key and dress down. It serves great home-cooked Swiss meals and great varieties of fondue, especially cheese fondue. Having tried many, I declare it the best one in Basel.”

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