Do you have eligible product?

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Having attended The Greats gift retailer awards recently and looking ahead to The RETAS 2018 in July, it makes me wonder -  why doesn't every supplier or manufacturer enter at least one eligible product for an industry award... every year? With the many, many category options across the various industry awards, nearly every supplier or manufacturer has an eligible product - which means any buyer or retailer can stock award-winning product!

It's time to embrace the fact that wherever you are in the supply chain you can use this year’s industry awards to your advantage... Here's how:

FOR SUPPLIERS/MANUFACTURERS: Given that the entry criteria for most retail awards is 'new in the market', as a supplier why wouldn’t you be entering your best products if they are eligible?  For you it is a very inexpensive marketing exercise which allows you to present your product to interested buyers, some of whom you may have been wanting to get in front of for years! If your product is shortlisted or you are lucky to be a finalist, then the market exposure linked to the awards really start to kick in. For example, many entrants have been commenting on what a difference the Gift of the Year (GOTY) halo makes to their whole business - not just the product selected. The PR opportunities are huge because lets face it - everyone loves to read a good news story!!

(FOR JUDGES: As an Awards Judge for many years for many different events I have found important new suppliers and products because of my judging. To have the opportunity to review a focussed group of products before your competitors, many of which might be relevant to your customers,  puts you on the front foot.  It opens your eyes to all sorts of products and market sectors you may not have considered relevant before. I know when I have walked the floor at shows I often see fellow judges on stands of suppliers who are new to them that they spotted at the awards - and we give each other knowing looks as we know why one another are there!)

FOR BUYERS/RETAILERS: As an industry we know that new product is our life blood; at any show you attend, it's likely that the first question you'll ask is ‘what have you got that is new’? Not because you cannot think of anything else to say - but because that is how you'll keep one step ahead of your competitors - by having something new and different to entice your customers into your store time and time again. Even if you're not an Awards Judge, I would say review the products selected as finalists this year; your peers felt they were worthy of note and while you may not agree with all of them, there may be one or two gems there for you that will delight your customers!

As growing retail sales becomes more challenging I would suggest that industry awards have an increased relevance for suppliers, retailers and our customers. So wherever you are in the supply chain, make sure you use this year’s industry awards to your advantage.

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On that note, if you are a Greetings Card publisher and you have new cards - make sure you have checked the criteria for The Henries and if you are eligible: ENTER! (The entries close on 22nd June.) Then, whether you are a card, gift or stationery producer you must look at the Gift of the Year 2019 website, and again if you have eligible product you must enter! Why wouldn’t you want your products to be reviewed by 40 leading retail buyers? They might be the ones you have been trying to get in front of for ages... this could be your big chance!