Snigdha Karjatkar Mumbai, Nov 30
OND quarter is the beginning of the exhibition season for the
channel community as this is the time when all the prominent IT associations of
the country are busy organizing their gala event of the year. For some it is
just an annual feature and for some it is a prestige of the association. Almost
all the A and B-class cities have been witnessing IT exhibitions for almost half
a decade. But the poor turnouts at the recent expos held in across the country
have left participants asking only one question: Are such exhibitions losing
For participants the main expectation from an exhibition is to
get noticed by large number of potential customers in one go. However,
participants now feel that this basic expectation is not being met at
exhibitions because of poor attendance and organizers should seriously look at
ways to charm back people into exhibitions.
"Today, the whole IT products trading community is running
on uncertain state. People wind-up their business within 2-3 years, and then it
becomes a problem for end-user service support. The exhibitions help in
conveying a message to users that the company still exist and is very much a
part of the industry," said Amit Shah, Secretary, Baroda IT Association (BITA).
Manoj Lalani, Lalani Computech, Bhubesneshwar has been actively
participating in the exhibitions but now is reviewing his stand on the same.
"Participating in exhibitions has become a liability. It is just for the
peer pressure that we have to participate in the expo. Exhibits are already
known to visitors, moreover, with shrinking margins the cost of participating in
the expo does not justify the presence anymore," he added.
According to Lalani, expos have now become platforms for
end-user to get the cheapest deal and squeeze the best bargain from the
resellers. For instance, students just walk in and collect the leaflets and
freebies, which puts a question on the nature of the visitors. "It's
important to attract the right kind of audience to the event," expressed
Given the mundane nature of the expos, its time to review the
exhibition formats. "It's time for organizers to think from a different
perspective while organizing exhibitions. Instead of having too many channel
partners showcasing the same brand of products and fighting over price, let
vendors directly participate at the expo. Vendors can showcase their products
while channel partners can do the value addition of manning the stall,"
BITA, this time is actually working out ways to attract new set
of people to the event. "It is time to explore new industries and attract
them to the technology. For instance someone who deals in garments on a small
scale may not be too keen on using computer. But if the expo is arranged near
his work area he might walk-in and find something for his use," said Shah.
"We had 21 companies participating directly in the our
expo. Although there were no new technology coming up, this time people were
curious to know more about the Intel Dual Core processor," explained Pawan
Jajodia, Chairman, Expo Committee, Compass.
"If there is direct participation from vendors it makes a
difference. The companies showcase their products and end-user gets a chance to
see the products that are available in their region. But if channels participate
they focus more on their brand and not on the products. This makes a huge
The major concern for participants is the declining footfall and
moreover getting the right kind of crowd to attend the event. "The expos
are now no more attended even by the dealers, so end-user would require
something more attractive to pull him to expos. For instance demo of X-Box on
massive scale would be just one of many things association can do to attract the
crowd," said Vikas Mundhra, Branch Manager, Best IT World.
Participating in the expo has become a customary thing for most
of the participants. "It is most of the time a branding exercise as we have
to be present when the rest of the community is present. Not participating is
not good but at the same time participating in the expo is not doing very good
as well," said Mundhra.