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GDS Launches Online Marketplace for Exhibitors

GDS is extending its reach by introducing a new digital component to the show.

The German trade fair announced the launch of GDS 365, a year-round online B2B marketplace for its exhibitors, at the latest edition held Feb. 10-12 in Dusseldorf. The marketplace is a joint project with Berlin-based B2B e-commerce platform for shoes and accessories, We Want Shoes.

Through GDS 365, exhibitors and buyers can connect, network and place orders beyond the traditional show dates through a designated section on the We Want Shoes website. The platform is designed to give exhibitors new business opportunities as well as help with their distribution and marketing processes 365 days a year.

Kirstin Deutelmoser, director of GDS and Tag It!, said. “In the GDS segment of We Want Shoes our exhibitors gain year-round visibility for brand building and canvassing new customers. The ‘Digital Showroom’ software helps with the demand-driven placing of pre and repeat orders. This is the best and simplest way for our brands to implement digitalization in the B2B segment and to integrate it beyond the trade show into their existing processes.”

The online platform is built to complement the trade fair, not replace it. We Want Shoes Managing Director Saydou Bangoura said, “Fashion is and remains a face-to-face business. It is still indispensable for buyers to see the collections live and touch and feel them.” Instead, Bangoura noted that GDS 365 offers brands “additional and future-oriented” opportunities to facilitate long term success.

GDS’ adaptation to the online space was visible at the recent show. In addition to launching GDS 365, the show hosted 110 bloggers and presented innovations in retail technology along its Highlight Route, including virtual stores, robots and touch screen solutions. However, the show remained a destination to discover new brands. Half of the visitors polled said they found a new supplier at the show. Meanwhile 80% said they had changed at least some of their suppliers over the past three years.