On 6 and 7 October, you have one final chance to attend a national convenience trade show this year. And at the Independent Retail Show at Manchester’s EventCity, you can meet the industry’s major players and seek advice on everything from symbol membership and social media to local products and news and magazine retailing.

With just two weeks go, Chris Rolfe finds out why you need to attend

Location

There are three reasons why EventCity in Manchester is a great location for this event. Firstly, it’s accessible, being just five minutes away from junctions 9 and 10 on the M60 and close to the M6, M62 and M56. Secondly, it has free parking. Thirdly, it’s next door to the Trafford Centre, which, I would argue, is one of the best shopping centres in the UK. IRS is only open to visitors aged 16 or over, and there is a supervised room for children at the event, but the Trafford Centre makes a fantastic day out. And in case you and your credit card are getting worried, visitors will be offered money-off vouchers for the centre.

digitalDigital Bar

In recognition of the growing importance and influence of social media in the business world, the IRS has a new addition this year. The Digital Bar will teach you all you need to know about using social media for business – whether you’re a total beginner or looking to improve your skills. Join Newtrade’s digital expert Ryan Mulcrone at his drop-in surgeries for workshops on using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

symbolSymbol Street

With IGD figures showing that around 47% of convenience stores now belong to a symbol chain, this new show feature will allow retailers to compare groups side by side. Think comparethemarket.com, with comparisons of specifics such as deals, reps and chain specialities. Visitors will be able to meet groups such as Nisa and Parfetts and discuss the best fit for their store. A Q&A session on the symbol market will also take place in the Profit Zone.

farmersFarmers Market

Stalls displaying a sumptuous mix of regionally-produced wares have been one of the most popular features of recent convenience trade shows. But, while sampling the products is a highlight, this section of the event will also show visitors how to make the most of local produce. Interactive talks and demos will focus on layout, setting prices and marketing to customers.

profitProfit Zone

The Profit Zone is an interactive and educational show feature that includes seminars from suppliers, in-store video case studies and Q&A sessions, each designed to give you new ideas to try out in your store. Seminars include “Seven ways to make your shop brilliant” by show partner Newtrade’s managing director Nick Shanagher, while sponsor Mondelez International will offer advice on using supplier planograms, and News UK and Total Accounting Services will assist with newspapers and smarter tax planning respectively.

Key suppliers

To give you a taster of what you’ll find at the show, Panini will be introducing its upcoming launches and explaining how to profit from collectables and Booker will be unveiling and sampling the latest Happy Shopper cakes and Euro Shopper drinks. You can see overleaf some of the major names whose attendance is already confirmed.