Nine IHA member companies, looking to enhance sales within Colombia or begin exploring this market as a target for new business joined IHA during the recent Colombia Trade Mission. To begin the Mission, attendees visited home and housewares retail stores in Bogotá during a retail tour. Having the opportunity to see the retail stores prior to meeting with buyers allowed Trade Mission attendees to review the product lines already found in the Colombia market, as well as investigate how retailers merchandise products, and see the types of complimentary items offered to consumers that may impact success of sales in the market. Suppliers already selling into Colombia used the store visits to take notes for later discussion on their products when meeting with buyers.
In the days following the retail tour, attendees met one-on-one with retailers in Colombia, including Cachivaches, Grupo Éxito, Supermercados y Tiendas Jumbo, Sodimac (Home Center), Tugó, Home Sentry, INDEX Organíiza-lo, Falbella, Pepe Ganga, Justo y Bueno. This mix of retail stores offered a spectrum of retailers to include a variety of mass merchandisers, specialty retailers, department stores and discount retailers. Rony Zavlodaver, International Sales Manager, Architec, represented by Tansoo remarked, “We met with very large retailers and distributors in Colombia, some of which I have been trying to reach for quite some time. I recommend the Trade Missions to anyone really wanting to understand the different markets around the world.”
In addition to these retailers housewares supplier, ESTRA, a plastics manufacturer in Colombia provided the group with a presentation on the home and housewares sector. Although known for producing plastic industrial and housewares products, ESTRA also operates eponymous retail stores, stocking not only their own products but also branded products that compliment their lines. Melissa Ballesteros, International Trade Director of ESTRA indicted that the retail arm of ESTRA is expanding into a larger offering of branded products. This new objective provided yet another opportunity for IHA members to speak to a buyer about potential sales into the market.
Further to the retailers, suppliers had the opportunity to meet with a few distributors in Bogotá, which allowed attendees to learn about their options in another sales channel. Casa Magna and Stilotex, both distributors of various home and housewares products, met with the suppliers in the group looking to focus on distribution options.
Retail and distributor buyers welcomed the opportunity to meet with IHA members joining the Trade Mission, as they viewed this as an enhancement to their efforts of attending the International Home + Housewares Show within the ease of their home market.
After a week of work in Colombia, attendees were pleased with their take-aways. Jennifer Dennie, International Business Development Manager of Progressive International Corporation said, “I found the Colombia Trade Mission incredibly helpful both in learning about the Colombian market and meeting with key retailers, distributors and local representatives. Not only did the Trade Mission provide concrete leads but it also exposed the suppliers to the culture within Colombia, which is critical in recognizing and understanding business opportunities.”