COLOGNE, Germany – Organizers of the IMM Cologne international furniture fair look to extend the reach of this January’s edition into the digital sphere with the new IMM Cologne @Home platform.

The physical trade show begins Jan. 18, 2021, at the Koelnmesse trade center.

“We at Koelnmesse believe firmly that everything is possible with our hygiene and safety concept, ‘#B-SAFE4business,’ and a positive attitude,” said Koelnmesse Vice President Trade Fair Management Matthias Pollmann. “This progressive attitude is one that many national and international exhibitors and visitors share with us. They are looking forward to networking at the emotional high point of the year for the industry – even if it is clear to everyone that many things will be different next year.”

With IMM Cologne @Home, now in beta testing, organizers will target those buyers who are unable to or do not want to travel to Cologne due to the pandemic.

“By extending the trade fair into the digital sphere, we have the best opportunities to increase our reach,” Pollman said. “Digital reach will be used as a new success criterion for all our trade fairs going forward. It will no longer simply be about the numbers of exhibitors and visitors and where our visitors come from – we want to be measured in terms of our digital reach as well.”

IMM Cologne Director Claire Steinbrück said the Gamescon gaming show in August here and the DMEXCO digital marketing exposition this month served respectively as a “future lab” and “our blueprint for trade events.”

“Based on our experiences with these two trade fairs, we will draw up a tailored digital strategy for IMM Cologne by the end of October,” she said.

In addition to reaching a broader spectrum of IMM participants and creating a range of further possibilities for interaction, the digital platform will be a forum for virtual exchanges between industry peers, for networking with relevant contacts and elevating business to the next level. In addition to a variety of live-streamed digital stages – including talks forum The Stage – there will be open and thematically curated video chats in the virtual cafe, and online trade fair visitors will be able to experience exclusive new launches by IMM Cologne exhibitors in private showrooms.

“By the end of October, we will decide which tools we will take from the large toolbox for DMEXCO and use for IMM cologne. What our exhibitors think will play an important role in this. Everything that supports their business is crucial,” says Pollmann, adding the effort needs industry support. “The path into a hybrid future is one that we cannot and do not want to take alone.

“In order to reach virtual visitors, it is vitally important that our exhibitors also produce digital content to accompany the content that we can generate as IMM Cologne. The same rule applies here as it does with a physical trade fair: We provide the platform and activate the visitors. But the products, the innovations, the stories – this is content that has to come from the exhibitors themselves.”

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