(ATLANTA) - A redesigned Atlanta Jewelry Show welcomed buyers with new experiences ranging from a fresh registration lobby and show floor to an enhanced education program to interactive touch-to-collect technology that increased conversation and engagement during the show, held March 4 to 6 at the Cobb Galleria Centre.
“We’re building a community of people with common goals - to engage, learn and thrive together,” said Carol Young, executive director, Southern Jewelry Travelers Association (SJTA). “We must connect with each other, collaborate and share experiences to prosper. The introduction of Poken touch-to-collect technology and our enhanced AJS education program really moved the needle for us.”
Innovative digital technology increased engagement among attendees. The show provided everyone - buyers, exhibitors, and speakers - with a Poken Spark device. When Poken Sparks touched together and glowed green, business cards were exchanged instantly. Poken touchpoints at booths made downloading company information seamless, and touchpoints on education boards enabled attendees to gather information on speakers and their presentations. After the show, buyers downloaded their connections, exhibitor information and education for a snapshot of their AJS experience, and exhibitors had a database of leads ready for follow-up.
“We believed the Poken technology would be a game-changer for our community. It met our goals to bring people together, make the show more interactive and add an element of fun,” said Young. “We heard 100% positive feedback.”
“I’m using Poken all over the show and it’s great,” said Kathy Morris, Lone Palm Jewelry. “We all need to be more comfortable with tech. AJS, you made it easy and fun!”
Another enhancement at the show was the expanded education program, which included a first-ever pre-show conference on Friday, March 3, offering more than 20 diverse sessions ranging from interactive discussions with successful retailers to the benefits of cloud accounting. The AJS U education program continued March 4 to 6, opening with keynote speaker Mike Wittenstein of Storyminers on Saturday, and Tom LaForge of Macroforces, previously Global Director, Human & Cultural Insights at The Coca-Cola Company, on Sunday, followed by full days of seminars, learning labs, demonstrations, and 10-minute pop-up sessions in The Loupe.
“The education created conversation, and that’s personally satisfying to me,” said Cindy Chandler, the show’s director of education and sponsorships. “I’m grateful to our speakers for sharing their knowledge and experiences with our community We’re full speed ahead with ideas for August based on the enthusiastic feedback we’ve gotten.”
Attendees were welcomed at the sleek, colorful registration area inside the show hall, with fresh bright graphics, oversized signage urging attendees to ENGAGE and a DJ spinning high energy tunes. The new show floor plan was designed to increase traffic flow throughout the entire hall. Two learning labs on the show floor made it easy for buyers to duck into a seminar or demonstration during the day.
About ten percent of the exhibitors were first-time show participants.
Publicist Victoria Olivares of Michael B and Katharine James of Katharine James Fine Jewelry, praised the ease of doing business with AJS. “We’re excited to be here and plan to return for the August show,” said James.
“The show exceeded our expectations and we will absolutely be back in August,” said Tim Knouse of Alamea Hawaii. “We were thrilled that retailers referred other retailers to us during the show. We had a great experience.”
Robert Loving of Time Delay enjoys a long history with his customers, exhibiting at the show since 1988. “We had a good show, and even revived a customer we had done business with some time ago.”
“Our August show was great, but then we doubled that business in one day at this show!” said Eric Lux, Rembrandt Charms. “Between our AJS August and March shows, we’ve had our best results in a decade. The show did a great job adding Poken, and creating the new show design.”
The AJS Buyers Group, The Loupe, introduced additional benefits for Loupe members, including the opportunity to have professional photos taken of the retailer’s team, together or individually, at the Loupe Pavilion during the show.
The 14th Annual Student Design Competition, co-hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and the Atlanta Jewelry Show, celebrated the industry’s up-and-coming designers. More than 75 entries - comprised of rings, earrings, broaches, and necklaces - were exhibited and judged during the show, with prizes awarded on Sunday, March 5. Kaitlyn Taylor took Best of Show for her necklace, The Tholian Web, created with glass beads, faux leather, sterling silver and semi-precious stones.
Buyers, exhibitors, and speakers wrapped up their day at the show’s networking event, Mingle!, each evening after the show with Poken sparking laughs and conversation.
“We encouraged engagement, and Mingle! was bustling every evening,” said Young. “Join us! Put August 12 to 14 on your calendar, and be a part of our community at the Fall show.”