Tommaso Cancellara - We must start again all in it together
Interview with Tommaso Cancellara CEO of Micam and General Manager of the Italian Footwear Association
“We are really pleased to be able to confirm our September appointment”, said Tommaso Cancellara while announcing us the next edition of Micam, the international footwear trade show, to be held from the 20th to the 23rd of September, at Fiera Milano Rho.
Can you please tell us a bit more about MICAM September edition?
First of all, we are really pleased to be able to confirm our September appointment – to be held from the 20th to the 23rd at Fiera Milano Rho. We have responded to the requests from our sector - from manufacturing companies, to international buyers. A recent survey sent out to companies showed that 75% of interviewees are sure to take part in the event, and that it represents an opportunity to get back on track and relaunch their business. In a moment of great uncertainty for our sector due to the current global health crisis, we are ready to be at their side. The next edition of MICAM, in this regard, will take on a particular meaning, as it will incorporate a new awareness and those suggestions born from dialogue with Italian as well as foreign companies. The organisational machine is already at work and the next MICAM will be a key opportunity for everyone to re-establish ties with the market and create new opportunities in total safety.
Are you developing special initiatives to attract international exhibitors? Can you tell us what has been done?
We are working hard to achieve the best possible outcome and we have many novelties in the pipeline. We are also negotiating and defining a commercial agreement with one of the most important players in the world of digital services to offer to all MICAM exhibitors a new B2B digital sales channel. We will be able to give more details around the end of June.
What about visitors? Are you taking special actions to attract them? What would your message be to international visitors? It will be a more basic edition than usual, but it will certainly not be lacking in its unique selling point, that is to present to the public the best footwear collections available on the market. Once again, MICAM will be the stage for supply and demand to meet.At the moment, health and safety (H&S) concerns are on most people’s minds. Are you going to implement any specific measure with respect to this? Can you give us some examples of what we can expect in terms of H&S at MICAM in September?
We are well aware that the global health crisis has generated uncertainty. Precisely to guarantee the best conditions, in terms of H&S for exhibitors, visitors and fair operators, we are developing alongside a task force of experts, a protocol of measures to minimise risks and allow everybody to carry out their activities easily and smoothly. Each phase, from the arrival in the pavilions to wandering around the stands, will be done in accordance with business safety rules. The square footage inside the pavilions will be different to comply with the regulations of physical distancing, as a result the exhibition layout will also change. This is not a problem: luckily at the Fiera Milano Rho exhibition centre, space is not lacking. Keeping in mind that people meeting is fundamental for MICAM, we are working to bring the economy and public health back into balance.
You are probably working with different scenarios of drops in visitors and exhibitors for September.
Number-wise what would be a good edition of Micam next September? There will certainly be a drop in audience numbers compared to the last edition, but the present situation whereby the epidemiological curve is changing continuously worldwide means that we currently cannot provide any meaningful estimates. The ups and downs must, however, be contained, so we have facilitated trade fair participation by significantly reducing the participation fee. If all goes well, we should break even but in such a moment it is right to share the costs and the difficulties we are all facing. We must start again all in it together. Every actor who is part of this event, from the fitters to the accommodation providers must make an effort. In the last few weeks we have seen several fashion weeks and events going ahead with online events. Some trade fairs also announced some digital initiatives, joining manufacturers and retailers. Will Micam bet on this area as well? Always reiterating the importance of physical presence, I recall a piece of research from Harvard that highlights how a request made in person is 34 times more likely to be approved than if it were sent remotely, we are working to implement and enhance digital services to optimise business between sellers and buyers. We also took steps in this direction during the explosion of the pandemic. Given that compliance with the restrictions imposed by the various government decrees led to the, de facto, temporary closure of footwear and clothing stores, we launched – in collaboration with Brandsdistribution and BDroppy – a digital platform that allows our ‘Made in Italy’ brands to sell products directly worldwide, optimising advertising and marketing investments to the maximum. A technological resource that can help to dispose of goods in stock that have accumulated substantially over this period. We have also implemented ‘Road2Digital’, a series of online meetings dedicated to the digital theme. An ad hoc programme for companies that deals with new technology-related themes, starting with a strategic approach to short, medium and long-term scenarios and to the requirements for implementing a digital transformation.
What advice would you give to manufacturers and retailers of footwear in this new context of Covid-19? In your view, what are the things they should prioritize to ensure they navigate this crisis with success?
This is not an easy time, but we must focus on the factor that has paved the way for the success of our companies: quality. Only by not betraying our roots can we hope to get back on top soon. In other words, the unique element of ‘Made in Italy’, an advantage that has always been sought after by consumers from all over the world that has pushed many foreign brands to produce their goods in Italian companies.