Event: Big Buyer 2017 preview

OPI speaks to Big Buyer organisers, Epieffe President Mariella Nasi Pfeiffer and General Director Simonetta Pfeiffer, about this year's show.

OPI: What makes Big Buyer a must-attend event?

Mariella Nasi Pfeiffer: Big Buyer is now in its 22nd year and is among the best B2B fairs for the stationery, office, festivity and creativity sector. It combines exposure, networking and know-how, and the ability to get in touch with operators from the entire supply chain. Big Buyer features the key Italian and international companies from their respective industries, all previewing their latest products. It attracts wholesalers, manufacturers, office supplies resellers, large distribution buyers and retailers.

OPI: What is different from previous years in 2017?

Simonetta Pfeiffer: The main draw is the product range. Categories such as IT, promotional goods and festive products will have an increased presence at this year’s show in response to consumer trends in the growing digital, personalisation and anniversary sectors. These will be joined by all the usual stationery and office supplies segments that are well established at Big Buyer, such as writing instruments, paper products, archiving equipment,  school supplies, and wrapping and creative items. 

During the three days of the trade fair, buyers can start their preparations for the upcoming year by meeting with top-level suppliers and taking advantage of manufacturer and distributor multisectoral catalogues for planning product integration. They can also begin scheduling orders. 

Big Buyer 2017 will once again see an increase in the number of foreign companies represented – around 50% of exhibitors are now international players. 

OPI: What are the benefits for exhibitors?

SP: Exhibitors have the opportunity to increase their customer base and distribution channels by meeting with a wide range of qualified buyers. Big Buyer is also an unmissable event for all Italian buyers keen to find new global partners. 

OPI: Why should foreign buyers visit Big Buyer?

SP: Big Buyer prides itself on showcasing the latest market trends which enables industry professionals to build their development strategies. 

As always, the show will also feature the ‘Made in Italy’ space, where top Italian manufacturers exhibit their stylish and high-quality school, stationery and office products.

The number of foreign buyers visiting Big Buyer is growing. About 30% of all attendees come from abroad, specifically from across continental Europe, and increasingly from the UK.  

MNP: And of course Big Buyer is held in Bologna, which is an opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, rich in history and famous for its architecture. Show delegates also benefit from special hotel rates and low-fare rail tickets for the high-speed Frecciarossa and Italo trains. 

OPI: How are you addressing the needs of the various distribution/reseller channels?

SP: We are creating specific marketing initiatives to involve emerging market operators, including those in the promotional, e-commerce and toy sectors, as well as non-food retailers, large specialised retailers, concept stores and bookshops. 

Buyers’ feedback to date has been great and confirms how the industry is constantly looking for new opportunities to branch out.

OPI: Aside from the exhibition, what other events are taking place at Big Buyer?

MNP: As in previous years, one of the most prominent events at the show will be hosted by the AIFU (the Italian association of office suppliers) and takes place on 23 November. This session will focus on e-commerce and how it is pushing businesses to evaluate alternative sales practices and generate new customer relationships. 

There are a number of companies celebrating their anniversaries this year at Big Buyer, including Fellowes which will mark its centenary. In addition, the first day of the show will feature the awards ceremony for the 11th edition of the Top Design Award, showcasing the best in OP aesthetics and functionality.

OPI: How would you describe the Italian business supplies industry?

MNP: The sector is experiencing a significant evolution. In a world where the distinction between work and leisure is becoming less pronounced, professionals – thanks to mobile devices – can work anywhere and anytime. 

Even in Italy, smart working is no longer regarded as utopia, but a reality that is involving more and more employees. However, the office still retains its role as a central place for conducting business.