b'SHOWS THE LAB- 5 RETAILTHEWRAP-UPWENTGROWNTRENDS SWEET DARK QUESTION SPOTThere is so much uncertainty rightI think we all have to allow theEXISTING CONCERNS,now, and there is no way to speculateretailers to work on getting theirAMPLIFIEDon what the coming months will bring;customers back into stores. ThenThe pandemic has also intensified a none of us has a crystal ball unfortunate- conversation the industry was already ly, says Emerald Executive Vice Presi- down the road, we can look athaving about the sheer number of jewel-dent Gannon Brousseau.where were at with things. ry trade shows and their format. This unavoidable lack of predictive Howard Hauben, Centurion Its become expensive to travel and data is hampering event planning in thestay in Vegas. Rising costs have also been short term.one of the reasons people have stopped With the delivery of a vaccine stillattending Baselworld, which is in limbo unknown, the majority of people areas of press time. not comfortable getting back to nor- Theres also talk around trade show mal, or whatever semblance of normalsize and the return on investment that we get back to, so planning events thiscomesor doesntwith wearing out summer or fall has basically slowed toones Fitbit at a big show.a crawl, says David Audrain, executiveNow more than ever, retailers are ana-director for the Society of Independentlyzing how many shows theyre attending Show Organizers.and how much its costing them. In the long term, its creating newWesche says her team is more produc-questions for an industry already facingtive and makes smarter buying decisions its share of obstacles.at smaller, more targeted shows like From an exhibitor standpoint, one po- CBG, where they can sit down and re-tential change jewelry designer Stephenview everything with their vendors. Webster sees needing is lengtheningShe says she could see the store shows to allow for social distancing andsticking to the smaller shows and then screening of attendees and exhibitors.once in a blue moonperhaps every With something like a trade show,two yearsattending some of the larger I suppose you could look at it and say,trade shows.does it need to be over a longer period?But, what about the argument that Webster says. If there is still an appe- its harder to make new discoveries at tite [for trade shows]then I supposesmaller shows? theres not much you can do other thanWesche says from her perspective, its offer longer hours, because youre noteasy to find whats new and trending on-physically going to be able to processline, and she often gets word-of-mouth the same volume of people in the samerecommendations on hot new designers period of time in the same spaces.and lines from her peers. From a buyers perspective, Holly Wesche, owner of Wesche Jewelers inFAST-TRACKING DIGITAL PLANSMelbourne, Florida, and current chair ofA lot of bad has come out of the pan-Jewelers of Americas board of directors,demic, none of which readers need to be says many of her retail peers have indi- reminded about. cated theyre taking a hard look at theirBut there have also been some silver travel plans for the remainder of 2020.liningsenhanced technology and vir-Theyre doing so for two reasons, shetual opportunities are allowing organiz-says: one being the health and safetyers and vendors to reach their clients in issues that could continue through thea new way.fall, and the second a more (ever)greenFabienne Lupo, chairwoman and concernmoney.managing director of the Fondation de la Whether you were closed for fiveHaute Horlogerie (organizer of Watches weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, 10& Wonders Geneva, the show formerly weeks, whether you got PPP [Paycheckknown as SIHH), says the pandemic will Protection Program] money or not, allaccelerate the digital transformation of of our revenue was seriously impacted.our businesses.Everyone I know whos prudent is tak- This has already rung true in many ing a good hard look at their expenses.Watches & Wonders Geneva pivoted to a digital platform this year afteraspects: meetings, both internally and canceling its 2020 event. WatchesandWonders.com allowed brands, like Piaget (shown here), to share their stories and novelties.externally, are being held via platforms Continued on page 1210 MARKET ISSUE 2020'