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SAFTAD show | Stood the test of time | Why visit the showPeter Foley of US brand Boone (left) is a regular exhibitor on the Apex Walker Brands stand. Right: Exhibitors and retailers spend quality time on the Kingfisher stand.
July 2014


stood the test of time

The promise of new products, the ability to compare products and the opportunity to network are some of the reasons visitors should attend the SAFTAD fishing tackle trade show this year, South African suppliers explained to RHIANAH FREDERICKS. SAFTAD will be held 16-17 August at the UNISA Conference Centre in Ormonde, Johannesburg

There are several benefits to attending the SAFTAD fishing tackle trade show, say South African suppliers that will be exhibiting at the show.

“The show is the most economical trade show in the country and is very affordable to the exhibitor for the return he gets on his sales — and also for the dealer attendance list that he is furnished with on completion of the show,” says SAFTAD chairman John Pledger. He believes that the show gives exhibitors a great opportunity to exhibit and sell their merchandise to a wide variety of retailers who will attend the show.

Meeting customers

The show provides a meet-and-greet opportunity for retailers and suppliers. Retailers can view new merchandise while getting first-hand information regarding the products, which they may not be familiar with, say suppliers.

“It is an opportunity to interact with customers and explain the benefits of our products and in particular, new products,” explains Barry Wareham from iFish. Retailers also have the opportunity to interact with market leaders and gain insight regarding trends and opportunities, which they will not be able to do if they do not attend.

“It’s a must for any wholesaler that’s in the fishing tackle trade to exhibit at SAFTAD,” says Andrew Wentzel from WET Sports. He enjoys the one-on-one contact he is able to have with customers at the show. “It is also a vehicle for launching our new product ranges and innovations and just making our clients aware of the ranges we have available,” he says.

Exhibitors come from all over the country and therefore may not have the time to see all their customers often, but this is an opportunity to get out there and meet their clientele.

Aside from the opportunity to showcase their product range they also get to enjoy quality time with the retailers away from their work places, says Mike Philip from The Kingfisher.

“Being based in Cape Town, the SAFTAD show gives us the platform to see our customers from up north face to face,” says Gerhard Terblanche from Adrenalin Fishing. Seeing shop owners and buyers allow suppliers to market their products and brands directly, he says, while retailers get to spend some time with the wholesalers, and not only their reps.

“We get to meet all our out of town customers,” agrees Abdullah Mia from Mias Wholesale. This is the only fishing tackle trade show in the country recognised by SAFTAD and all retailers that are serious about their business make a point of coming to SAFTAD, he explains.

This year, the Mias stand will feature brand ambassadors from Pioneer Tackle that will be on hand to answer any questions and queries visitors may have. The Kingfisher stand will also feature a number of brand ambassadors while representatives from Mako Eyewear Australia will be on the Mustfish stand.

The show is a great place to network, Lloyd Pereira from Mustfish, points out. “If you aren’t there, then you get forgotten! Out of sight, out of mind.” For retailers it is also important to keep up to date with new products as angling is a constantly evolving sport, he says.

Compare products

The SAFTAD show is the best way of showing most retailers from across the country your products, adds Mike de Gouveia from T-Line Pro. It is the one place where wholesalers get to showcase all their products once a year, explains Gareth Adams from Stealth. “It gives the retailer an opportunity to look and feel the whole range of products which they can't see just on reps visits.” It gives retailers a once off opportunity to source product that will work in their stores and grow their retail outlet.

Retailers can not only see all new products introduced in the market, they can also compare the features and benefits of similar products from different suppliers, says Wareham. He feels that this show allows his company to display their complete range of products to both current and potential customers. Retailers get the benefit of seeing — and comparing — the quality of the goods they would like to put on their shelves, says Viv Foster from Vivtek Fishing Equipment.

The retailer gets the opportunity to see the majority of suppliers under one roof and to compare apples with apples,” agrees Wentzel, who believes that the show’s specials and promotions are also an attraction for retailers.

Share news

The show allows people in the industry to share trading news and to get a feel for how the retail trade is coping in the current economy. Trading conditions over the last year have been challenging for many in the tackle industry. “In very difficult trading conditions it is even more important for the dealers to attend the show to enable them to budget correctly after having viewed all that is available from the various distributors,” explains Pledger.

Tough times require tough decisions and it is not the time for dealers to bury their heads in the sand and hope that things will come right. They have to get out there and be competitive, he says. “This is not only a South African trend, but a world trend, and in particular the recreational fishing industry has been affected quite badly,” says Pledger.

The general slowdown in the economy, ever increasing fuel prices and the volatile currency have all contributed to a tough year, says Mias. He remains positive and finds that people don’t stop fishing during tough times, but reduce their tackle spend.

In tough economic conditions, the recreational markets have been the first to suffer, says Pereira. The economy, which was negatively affected by strikes, high unemployment and the devaluating rand, has led to a very to a very difficult trading environment for retailers as well as wholesalers, says Wentzel. “Tie into this the tendency in the fishing tackle industry to try and undercut your competition, you end up sitting with a situation where making profits is difficult!”

2013 was one of the tougher trading years experienced by retailers throughout the country, with most achieving little or no real growth, says Philip. This put pressure on the excessive number of wholesalers in the market who have to compete for the scraps, which resulted — in the midst of a weakening currency — in discounting and/or dumping of stock, says Philip.

“Carp is probably the only fishing discipline that's doing well,” adds Howard Joscelyn from Apex Walker Brands. In tough trading conditions, it is up to wholesalers to adapt to the changes, says Adams. “It is an ever changing industry, so if you don't change, you will sink.”

Others, however, have had a good year.

Vivtek Fishing Equipment has experienced a few record months, says Foster. Trading has also been really good for Adrenalin Fishing and they report good growth over the last 12 months and T-line Pro says they had a better year than the year before.

One show?

Most suppliers agree that one venue, rather than several regional shows, is the most beneficial as it reduces costs, saves time, ensures that the key retailers attend, etc.

Hosting several shows around the country is more expensive, says Pledger. He believes that an annual show in one venue should attract competitive dealers, even if they have to travel.

With one show exhibitors can put all their efforts into it and ensure that all the retailers that are of any significance will be at the venue, says Wareham.

One show in one venue will save time and money, agrees Terblanche. “To do four or five shows around the country every year takes up a lot of time and costs the wholesale companies a lot of money,” he explains.

It would be ideal if all the coastal stores could be subsidized to attend the SAFTAD show, he points out. One big show also allows coastal stores the opportunity to see more suppliers than they would at smaller shows around the country, he adds.

“Regional shows are costly for the smaller players,” agrees Mia, who also feels one show in one venue is better than several shows.

“Several regional shows are too costly in the current tough economy and it will just water down wholesaler attendance,” adds Pereira.

“I believe that one show does work, but a lot of out of town retailers still don't get to attend because of work commitments,” says Adams. He also suggests that a show in all the big cities would work, but wholesalers may object due the huge cost element involved in setting up booths, downtime at work, etc.

This is, however, a contentious issue, as some suppliers believe that although one show may be ideal, there are reasons why regional shows would be beneficial. Several suppliers point out that not all retailers can attend the SAFTAD show in Gauteng.

For example, many smaller coastal traders simply do not attend the SAFTAD show, points out De Gouveia.

“Some can’t leave their business unattended and/or the cost of travel and accommodation is becoming prohibitive,” says Philip.

“As a result of this, satellite shows have been required, to make sure that all the retailers are kept in the loop,” adds Wentzel.

New show

The new tackle show planned for June (consumer) and August (retail trade) in Durban, will definitely have a negative impact on the SAFTAD show, says Pledger. Some coastal exhibitors may decide not to attend the SAFTAD show and opt to exhibit at the new show, to the detriment of retailers, who will not get to see what all these suppliers have on offer, as in the past.

Traditionally, there have been an informal coastal show every year for the past 20 years — the only difference is that it will now be an organised show. “The difference between this new show and the SAFTAD show is that ours is not for financial gain, but to benefit the members,” says Pledger.

While some suppliers have shown interest in attending the new show, Rapala VMC SA will not be exhibiting. “Rapala will not be touching that show at all,” he says.

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