My ISPO – Claire Higgins

“For me, ISPO is a great opportunity to strike up new conversations, meet current customers and catch up with old friends. I love the level of engagement in aWorkbook that arises during those conversations and the ideas that surface. I really value the flexibility of our business model that means I can bring those conversations back to our in-house development team to further enhance our solution. Those conversations translate into a solution that really does meet the needs of the market.

My ISPO conversations this year were characterised by two things. First, a renewed determination by Brands to finally step away from the huge cost of creating, printing and distributing paper catalogues and embrace digital instead. Second, the ever-increasing requirement for sales teams to tailor their offer when presenting to buyers. The breadth of ranges offered by Brands, coupled with time-poor buyers, puts increasing pressure on reps to focus the customer on what’s right for them.

Several discussions touched on the directives from key US buying groups who are looking to favour brands that have digital, rather than paper catalogues, and what that would mean for brands who are still wedded to print. And yet again, there was concern about the ‘dinosaurs’ in the sales team who may be resistant to digital … but people forget that those very same ‘dinosaurs’ are using their smartphone for emails, commenting on LinkedIn posts and face-timing the family at the end of the day!

Smaller Brands are keen to learn from the ‘Big Boys’ and increasingly looking to improve their sell-in processes by adopting the approach of the larger brands; assortment-driven selling, introducing core colours guaranteed to be available season-on-season and canvassing opinion from key accounts ahead of a sales launch were just three of the topics I discussed.

A visit to ISPO enables me to ‘take the temperature’ of the market for aWorkbook, and I can report it is in good health. And when I look at my fitness tracker, and see the number of steps I walked over the four days, I think I’m little healthier too!

Read our ISPO 2017 Report