Movado chief executive officer Efraim Grinberg has taken a firm stance regarding trade shows in the digital age.The New Jersey-based executive said: “For us and our customer base, Baselworld has become less relevant over time, trade fairs are less relevant as the world changes and as e-commerce becomes a bigger presence.”Thus, the watch brand has opted out of the forthcoming Baselworld fair, to be held in Basel, Switzerland from March 22 through 27.Instead, the firm has “reinvested” the funds it would have spent on the fair to create its own retail retreat in Davos, Switzerland.The Movado Group Summit, to take place from March 17 through 20, will offer 300 or so guests and immersive Movado experience.Movado Group brands and licenses including Ebel, Concord, Coach, Tommy Hilfiger, Juicy Couture, Lacoste and more will be represented. Many of these brands will introduce new products at the summit.Attendees will have access to panel discussions addressing such topics as social media best-practices, marketing, digital commerce and retail innovation. A keynote speaker is also scheduled to make an address at the event’s gala dinner, but their identity would not be revealed “for security reasons,” according to a spokesperson.Many of the event’s panels incorporate Movado’s new key hires in the digital space.Grinberg estimated that the Davos event will only cost about 20 percent of what the firm would ordinarily spend on Baselworld. The remaining 80 percent of funds have been invested in digital hires and the creation of a Digital Center of Excellence.Behzad Soltani has joined the firm as chief digital officer, responsible for developing technologies and consumer-facing initiatives. He comes to Movado from Boxed, where he served as vice president and general manager.Additionally, Michelle Barna-Stern has been named Movado’s vice president of social media. She comes to the company from 360i, where she served as vice president of social marketing.“Basel is very, very expensive. We had nine brands at Basel with nine booths that you have to put up and take down. It’s one of the reasons we felt we should head to Davos — only 20 percent of our Basel costs will be reinvested in Davos, while the remaining 80 percent are allocated to consumer-facing initiatives,” Grinberg said of the firm’s new strategy.Grinberg declined to disclose what the Davos conference will cost attendees. He noted that the timepiece firm would not pay for flights to the event.The 2017 Baselworld conference clocked 135,000 visitors, down from 145,000 in 2016.In November, the fair announced that it would halve its exhibitor list and shorten the event’s length by two days in a response to flagging watch sales. Baselworld also reduced the price of its booth rentals by 10 percent.
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