Read the article series "Fair of the Future"

Meet Caroline Biros - marketing and communications director at Maison&Objet

Stockholm Furniture Fair has met up with the industry profile Caroline Biros, the marketing and communications director at Maison&Objet to talk about what the fair of the future looks like.

What does the trade fair of the future look like? 

“Everyone has dreamed of hybrid shows for tomorrow. It is now becoming a reality. What it would look like precisely, that is still to be defined. A Maison&Objet, we imagine that our visitors will go online and offline, in a visit with two different aspects that will add a layer to the traditional experience they’ve had so far. A seamless experience. We’re convinced that there is a way to find information, brands, and inspiration both during the actual show as well as an online event during with a digital format. But information alone is not enough. To convince visitors to leave their office it will be necessary to offer experiences that go beyond mere business and rational framework.” 

What changes has the pandemic brought to the trade fair circuit and what challenges is facing the traditional fairs when they re-open again? 

“The pandemic has accelerated the digitalisation. Trade fairs can no longer lag the digital life of their participants. From ticketing to order taking, not to mention networking and training tools, they must perform at the cutting edge. This has required exhibitors, visitors and of course the exhibition industry to recruit new digital profiles. Now we have to convince everyone of the value of the physical world, in spite of everything. We are lucky at Maison&Objet because we are a market where it is crucial to see, touch and feel the products. The in-person experience is key to understand the proportions or materials of a product before selling it or including it in an interior design project.”




How do fairs need to adapt to stay interesting? 

“Trade fairs are adapting, creating new services, partnering with other events, developing tools to prepare your visit, offering matchmaking or training tools all year round. This is a time of innovation, testing and risk-taking. It's about innovating to keep on convincing the buyers that sourcing cannot only be achieved while staying behind your screen.”

What are the new needs of the furniture brands? How do they attract people and stay relevant - and how do they reinvent themselves to meet future needs? 

“For the furniture market, the next step will be high: they have just spent two very dynamic years, boosted by the re-equipment of households that stayed at home during the pandemic. To maintain growth, brands must now seduce the hospitality industry, which is gradually recovering, corporate or co-working spaces that must appeal the work force, and the HNWI’ fortunes, whose needs are far from diminishing. Not to mention online sales: those who have not jumped in the digital era will quickly be rejected by their customers. With inflation, it will surely be necessary to review the strategies of supply and production: a significant challenge but one that should be rewarded by the expectation of buyers to consume more ethically and sensibly.

In a few words, these are topics that will always be important to discuss or demonstrate, face to face… in trade events!”