NEXTRADE is an Internet-based B2B marketplace. It is a closed platform that enables suppliers and retailers in the Home & Living sector to exchange information about products, systems, availability and – of course – orders online, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Managing Directors Philipp Ferger and Nicolaus Gedat explain how useful this is – especially in the current Coronavirus situation.
What role does Nextrade play as the first digital B2B marketplace in the Home and Living segment, particularly in the present time of Coronavirus?
Philipp Ferger: The current developments confirm our aim, as trade fair organisers, to invest in and help shape the digital transformation of the trade fair industry with Nextrade. The opportunities offered by a digital 24/7 business relationship between trade fair participants hold great potential. Since the start of the year, we have observed the huge extent to which onsite trade fair encounters are dependent worldwide on the effects of external factors such as Coronavirus. With Nextrade, we enable our exhibitors and visitors to maintain their business relationships between events.
Why is Nextrade particularly relevant for visitors and exhibitors who were unable to take part in Ambiente this year and who fear further cancellations of the fair?
Philipp Ferger: 365 days a year, Nextrade brings together worldwide trade fair participants from both the supply and demand sides – anytime, anywhere. This means that exhibitors are available around the clock for order enquiries from their global trade fair customers. For retailers, the platform enables them to place orders centrally for a large number of Home & Living brands efficiently with a single login, and to access all the latest images, price lists and product texts. Ambiente exhibitors connected to the platform are able to offer retailers who were unable to travel to this year’s Ambiente due to Coronavirus and Storm Sabine, the opportunity to catch up on orders by using Nextrade, as well as to discover new suppliers. As an order and data platform, Nextrade creates new channels and touchpoints that benefit trade fairs throughout the year.
And what benefits does Nextrade create in terms of ‘analogue’ onsite trade fair encounters?
Philipp Ferger: The main thing that Nextrade creates on site for trade fair participants is space. Visitors are no longer restricted to placing orders solely during the trade fair – they can now do so 365 days a year. In terms of face-to-face trade fair encounters, this means above all more time – for developing strong networks, for identifying new product ideas and for enhancing the product range. In the near future, we will also be bringing out a mobile application. This will enable retailers to use Nextrade when ordering directly on site at the fair. In this way, we are effectively linking personal onsite encounters at the fair with the digital benefits of the platform.
What are the main benefits for retailers who can register on the platform free of charge and order from suppliers?
Nicolaus Gedat: Free participation in Nextrade opens up a unique array of benefits for retailers. They can create a shopping basket for themselves with any of the suppliers, benefiting from the prices that apply to them as retailers. As a result, they can maintain an overview of all individual purchases and budgets. However, the focus of Nextrade is not just on ordering. In particular, large retailers can access marketing materials and supplier data for sales at PoS from a single system. And with the fast data entry procedure, they can also upload a previously created CSV Excel worksheet to fill their shopping baskets completely automatically. High-street retailers will be able to use Nextrade as an extension of their shop counter. Retailers can check in real time in the shop which products are available in which colour and when – and can pass this information on to their customers straight away.
And what are the greatest benefits for exhibitors who register as suppliers on Nextrade?
Nicolaus Gedat: Exhibitors on Nextrade are completely autonomous in terms of the selection of their retailers and can assign individual access rights to their shops – for instance, different price lists and freight terms or individual access to product ranges. Furthermore, they can update price changes or marketing materials in real time and make them immediately and efficiently available to the entire Home & Living segment. In addition, Nextrade enables suppliers to reach trading partners they have not previously been in contact with via trade fairs or other sales channels – both nationally and internationally.
Ambiente marked the launch of the expansion of Nextrade into European countries outside Germany. What has been the progress so far and what has been the international response to Nextrade?
Nicolaus Gedat: In 2019, the digital marketplace showed that it was possible to rapidly make huge leaps forward by mobilising existing networks and leveraging synergies. After a three-month pilot phase, Nextrade has been in full live operation since the end of October 2019. Within a few weeks of the launch, the product range on the supply side had doubled. Since the beginning of the year, the digital marketplace has continued to grow and 135 suppliers are currently active on Nextrade. With the start of the international roll-out at Ambiente 2020, retailers from 26 countries have now registered. The opportunity to become part of the first B2B platform for the Home & Living segment with their own shop attracted a great deal of interest at Ambiente among a large number of international companies. This enabled us to generate over 800 good-quality leads in just five days. In addition, there were numerous in-depth discussions at the Nextrade stand with visitors from all over the world. At the end of April, we will start the international marketing in the first European countries, including France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland and Sweden, together with Messe Frankfurt’s sales partners there.
Many thanks for the interview.Go to the Nextrade website