By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: Harvey Norman has scored a partnership with a new digital imaging expo, set to be held in Sydney in March 2012.

The Photo & Digital Expo will be held in Sydney from 30 March to 1 April, 2012, and is the brainchild of Edge Exhibition and Events CEO, Graeme Ayerst.

Ayerst spoke to about the event, discussing its arrival in Australia, and the opportunity it represents for camera suppliers and for Harvey Norman.

The format is based on a similar conference held in South Africa since 2009, The Photo & Film Expo, which brings together leading suppliers in the industry and allows them to sell products to the consumer through a dedicated retailer.

“The first year [in South Africa] was a major success from the sales generated at the event – we brought a retail partner on there too,” said Ayerst. “The response was so good and there were so many sales made that everybody scrambled to get onto the show and the show grew.

“In the second year, the visitors doubled and the sales were phenomenal. We had the main lines, Canon and Nikon and so forth, but the sales were done through a dedicated retailer,” he said. “A lot of the suppliers can’t sell to the public, so you need someone they can sell through.”

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Unlike PMA, the Photo & Digital Expo will be targeted towards consumers who will get to hear about products from the companies who make them, before making a purchase at one of the Harvey Norman tills in the venue.

Ayerst was quick to note that he was only acting as a facilitator to bring Harvey Norman in contact with suppliers and he would not be involved in product pricing. “Harvey Norman will do all of the negotiating with the various suppliers themselves.”

Harvey Norman will be the only retailer represented at the event, and though some suppliers will be “dealing directly with studios and camera clubs,” all sales will go through Harveys cash registers.

Ayerst is expecting the first show to be big, and is in the initial stages of signing suppliers on to exhibit at the event.

“We’ve got to do the launch, explain everything, show footage of how we’ve done it before and explain the benefits,” he said. “And let’s hope that we have the industry buy into it.”