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Winning Products Find Favour at Merchandise World

New products were the key focus for visitors to Silverstone for the latest Merchandise World

The promotional merchandise industry shook off the January blues with the second Merchandise World at Silverstone.

The two-day event saw 1,016 visitors meet with 172 exhibitors to find out about the best products available for campaigns in the year ahead.

Following on from the success of September’s inaugural Merchandise World show at Stoneleigh, the January show put the emphasis on products, doing business and picking up some useful learning. The show also featured the first Merchandise WorldPromotional Product Awards with exhibitors proudly displaying their trophies on their stands.

The event was preceded by the BPMA Education Day with many delegates taking the opportunity to combine inspiration and motivation with firsthand product knowledge.

A high number of business leaders, together with their frontline teams attended The Wing, the iconic building that also houses the pits for British Formula 1 Grand Prix below the exhibition halls. Visitors certainly got off to a racing start, bolstered by bacon rolls and breakfast courtesy of Merchandise World. The halls were soon buzzing with activity as visitors and exhibitors got down to business – packed stands were the order of the day.

Richard Pettinger, director, Ignite Incentives Group said that on the evidence of the show, Merchandise World was now the premier industry show in the UK. “It was so good to see all the top suppliers coming together and fantastic to see the response from quality visitors turning out in large numbers and bringing so many of their sales teams. I don’t think I have ever seen so many of the top distributor companies in the one place,” he said. “Couple that with some really interesting seminars and we have a magnificent new addition to the calendar.”

Show seminars were organised by the BPMA, which is a partner in Merchandise World with Sourcing City. They covered such hot topics as GDPR, charter status and the results of BPMA mystery shopper research into what buyers looked for from their suppliers.

Chris Zachar, head of partnerships, Silverstone also gave an intriguing insight into how the race track, celebrating its 70th birthday this year, is using its brand to diversify beyond the race meets it is so famous for. Its masterplan includes anew hotel and spa, auto brand centres, a Silverstone Experience, and a family entertainment zone.

Silverstone merchandise manager, Lee Mullin, revealed the big part that merchandise played across the circuit, from clothing for marshalls and staff, to branded items for the driving experience, and through retail outlets, both physical and increasingly online. Her advice for suppliers looking to work with Silverstone, could apply more widely.“When approaching the brand, you really need to understand their needs and get under the skin of the brand. Make it a concise and clean collection, so that you become an extension of the brand.”

For visitors and exhibitors, attention to detail was evident throughout the show from the ‘Here to Help’ team assisting exhibitors bringing in boxes and stand fittings, the free breakfast, lunch and drinks for everyone, tea trolleys providing exhibitors with free hot drinks and snacks throughout the day, a useful App, and even free pick ‘n’ mix sweets for the day and journey home.

BPMA director general Gordon Glenister summed up the show: “There was a real buzz about the event that was obvious to anyone there. It was busy and people were visibly enthused to be meeting up with exhibitors who had some great products to show them and were eager to get their business. The social aspect must also be emphasised, and the BPMA organised a completely sold out networking evening at Whittlebury Hotel, where attendees were able to continue the conversations from the show and forge some great relationships. It really bodes well for the year ahead in merchandise, and for September’s show in Farnborough.”

Exhibition organiser Ella Long said: “Our expectations were high and based on the fabulous feedback we got from visitors and exhibitors alike the event surpassed everyone’s expectations. What could be better than quality visitors spending time with quality suppliers, that simply means great business opportunities for all.”

Only seven months until Farnborough!


“Our decision to join the BPMA in October last year was driven by the realisation that we had a unique, quality product in personalised tubs of ice cream but were not best placed to take the product all the way through the supply chain and sell directly to the end user. Merchandise World gave us the opportunity to engage with the merchandising professionals who had the contacts with the customers we were trying to reach. The show was well organised and the calibre of exhibitors and visitors did not stray outside the core of those interested in merchandised product which meant the quality of enquiries was high.”
Charlie Bird, business development manager, Rossi Ice Cream

“Merchandise World was the best show I have personally done, and I have been in the trade many years. Each day was exceptional – lots of clients and potential clients to see and all of good quality.There was a real buzz about the whole event and the organisation was faultless.”
Phil Roberts of Fanela

“It is a great show and we love it! We met with clients face to face, got lots of good leads, and our new Powerbank Payment Fob was well received by a lot of clients who visited the show. It is a good quality show that both suppliers and distributors should not miss.”
Derek Luo, Will International

“We thought the show was great, lots of genuine interest, which means a lot of follow ups for us to do, which is obviously really good. We met some lovely people at the show, so having a stand promoting PhoneHug gave us a great networking opportunity and the ability to introduce ourselves to the promo community. Looking forward to seeing what happens next!”
Sam Fairbrother, Director, White Rabbit Distribution Ltd

“We had a particularly good location for our stand and meant that we were busy from the moment the show opened. There was an excellent quality of visitors and very positive reactions to the new items on display.All the products we were displaying were new for 2018. As always, the Merchandise Worldteam hosted a professional and thoroughly enjoyable event at a great location. Those customers who did not visit and suppliers who did not exhibit both missed out a great opportunity to see and show what is new for 2018.”
Haydn Willetts, regional director UK & Ireland, Mid Ocean Brands, More than Gifts

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