IIJS Virtual Gets Overwhelming Exhibitor Response

IIJS, reimagined in a new virtual format, welcomes you to join the show from anywhere in the world.

IIJS Virtual, the digital edition of the GJEPC’s flagship August show, that is scheduled to be held in October 2020, has already created a buzz among industry circles, with initial exhibitor interest exceeding the expectations of the organisers.

The economic shockwave sent around the world by the covid pandemic had naturally created a great deal of apprehension about demand for jewellery and the future of the trade show format. However, the perseverance and hard work of the GJEPC paid off handsomely as large numbers of exhibitors have evinced keen interest in taking part in the virtual show.

Colin Shah, Chairman, GJEPC, says, “A large and comprehensive virtual jewellery trade fair, IIJS Virtual will be an opportunity for our exhibitors and buyers to connect, talk business and place orders from the comfort of their offices or homes. Although we missed out on the August show, we couldn’t let another opportunity go by. Bolstered by the midstream’s confidence in a pick-up in festive and wedding demand, the Council went into high gear to organise IIJS Virtual in record time, to ensure that the IIJS lives up to its earned reputation as the backbone of the Indian industry’s growth.”

Initial reactions from the trade have praised the timing of the show, for giving retailers a last-minute chance to be prepared for the pent-up Diwali and wedding season demand with innovative products that match the current consumer sentiment — marrying economics and fashion to create product lines that minimise the use of gold.

Kulthiaa Jewel Pvt. Ltd.

Initial reactions from the trade have praised the timing of the show, for giving retailers a last-minute chance to be prepared for the pent-up Diwali and wedding season demand with innovative products that match the current consumer sentiment — marrying economics and fashion to create product lines that minimise the use of gold.

Vipul Shah, Vice Chairman, GJEPC, notes, “IIJS is one of the most coveted annual shows that helps the trade stay connected. It’s one of the biggest networking and gem and jewellery sourcing events. This year, the pandemic has forced us to put our plans on hold as for the physical show. But, out of every adversity emerges an opportunity, and we are now gearing to conduct a Virtual IIJS Show to help connect buyers and sellers. We may be socially distanced, but we are not disconnected, thanks to the digital revolution. We are hopeful that business will be back on track soon.”

In an exhibitor meeting, Shailesh Sangani, GJEPC Convener, Exhibitions, explained that there are three types of booths available to exhibitors — Ordinary, Premium and Super Premium. Sangani informed in detail the workings of the digital architecture and how an exhibitor can conduct one-on-one meetings. All visitors to the virtual show will get a free entry and they can browse through an exhibitor’s limited product listing starting 7 days prior to the opening of the show. Visitors can also add products to their individual wish list and pre-schedule meetings as per the 5-day calendar of each exhibitor. 

Sangani says, “We as an industry are a die-hard breed and our comeback is always stronger than the setback. The pandemic has impacted businesses across the globe, but the Council, as always, leads the way. IIJS Virtual IIJS has been slated for October this year, which promises to replicate a life-like feel. The well-conceptualised virtual show will ensure that businesses are conducted as usual, but without compromising on safety and security. GJEPC’s new and dynamic virtual show will have features like appointment scheduler, live chats, product catalogues and company brochure displays, video, meeting rooms, seminars and more. Change is the only constant, and perhaps the pandemic has forced us to reinvent ourselves for the better.”

Exhibitors are equally curious and excited about this Virtual show and have high expectations. Jugal Choksi of CVM Exports, Junagadh, says, “The digital space is a niche way of conducting business that was waiting to be explored. We need to constantly adapt and change, and Covid-19 has only hastened that process for all of us.

GJEPC’s business-to-business virtual show comes at a perfect time and will help the gem and jewellery industry in more ways than one. The communication gap in terms of following up on orders from buyers will surely improve. We will also need to pay more attention to getting our jewellery photographed well, and the brand’s presentation fundamentals will need to be improved so that our inventory looks digitally appealing — and this exercise may be essential to draw new buyers from India or abroad. Even regular buyers, who get tired walking around the physical show, and tend to miss out on visiting their regular exhibitors, will now conduct business easily at appointed hours from their offices.

One-on-one meetings will be more focused online as they will be devoid of distractions. For exhibitors, too, this will be an easy and effective platform to source our ancillary products like loose gems and diamonds, alloys and more.

The last two quarters of the year will definitely see a rise in demand; appreciation in gold rates will be seen as a safe haven and the discretionary spending on travel and vacations, hospitality, and fine dining, and some of it will hopefully get diverted to jewellery.

CVM

I am confident that the IIJS Virtual Show will be a complementary necessity in addition to the physical show.

Bharat Takhtani, Director, Zar Jewels, Mumbai, commented, “We need to cash in on the opportunity that the Virtual IIJS has to offer, and we hope to receive good orders through this medium. Demand in general is down by half year-on-year and GJEPC’s virtual platform may help us see a revival. More emphasis will have to be given to branding one’s company and promoting it in the digital space. In our company, we have already invested in an in-house photographer and we edit posts for our online portal. To draw new buyers in the virtual world, each company will have to make its online profile even more attractive. We are hopeful that through this virtual show, we will be able to meet all our regular buyers who are now unable to see us in person. The world needs to move ahead from the old-fashioned ways of displaying their inventory physically, and this show is being held at an opportune moment.”

The faith reposed by the industry in the IIJS brand is immense. Pramod Mehta, Managing Director, Shilpi Jewellers, Mumbai, remarks, “GJEPC’s IIJS has a brand value and the industry has pinned a lot of hopes on it. The show elicits implicit faith from the industry and the timing of the virtual show is perfect — just before the start of the buying season. GJEPC is conducting this show in a disciplined manner with pre-fixed appointments, video calling and secure communication, which will ensure transparency in business dealings. I will go all out to promote this show and invite all my customers.”

Some exhibitors dealing in diamond jewellery are hopeful that the virtual platform will be a good experiment to engage in. Anand Kulthia, Managing Director, Kulthiaa Jewel Pvt. Ltd., Kolkata, states, “We must try out new ways of exhibiting jewellery, and GJEPC’s new Virtual IIJS format should reap good results. We are seeing a resurgence in orders for our diamond-studded jewellery from retailers across India and this show will only boost it further. It is an experiment for all of us — let us collectively be positive about it. Jewellery is a luxury product and most buyers, especially from tier II and III towns, prefer to touch and feel a jewellery piece before placing orders. I am of the belief that retailers from metropolitan cities, who are already engaging their clients through virtual mode of shopping and jewellery try-on apps, will be more comfortable in buying jewellery through this virtual platform. In the diamond jewellery segment, our customers want the form to be big, but lightweight and for the best price. It is a good time for both exhibitors and buyers to explore the digital medium for exploring newer opportunities to bolster business.”

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