Some of you Gift Shop owners or traders may have been going to Trade shows for years, if so then please add your own tips in the comments! We have complied some tips for Buyers attending their first or one of their first shows.
1. Wear or at lease take comfortable shoes! – You will literally walk for miles at a trade show and although heals give you a nice professional look we would recommend at least taking comfy shoes to change into.
2. Have a look at the attendees before hand – Before you go, its a really good idea to have a look thorough the list of attendees and see if any catch your eye. Check out their web sites and seek out the good ones, its really worth doing a bit of research to make the most of your visit.
Look through trade journals/magazines, they are fantastic for inspiration. They will often have lots of adverts in with photos of the stock and they include the stand number you can flick through the magazines and note down all the interesting looking suppliers.
3. Take a good backpack/bag – this is to carry any catalogues you pick up, I would recommend not taking any you really aren’t interested in, many stands will try to hand out catalogues to anyone that will take them while others want you email address/details before you part with them, they will usually follow up with a phone call or an email so try not to waste yours and their time.
4. Do not get caught up! – By this I mean some suppliers can be very persuasive, you simply do not want to get caught listening to a sales pitch of something you will not be interested in, be polite and just move on.
5. Keep track of orders placed – This sounds obvious but when I go to a trade show I place orders with 10+ suppliers, you easily forget what you have ordered, I take a small notepad and list supplier name, date I’ve asked for it to be delivered and the amount – I always ask for the amount before agreeing to the order. It’s very easy to carried away on a stand, you can ask for a tot up during the order if you don’t want to overspend.
6. Order at the show! – as much as you can, place orders at the show, even for the future, its so much better to place orders when you can see and touch what you are ordering and you will get genuine advice from the stand. Many stands will have very worthwhile deals at the show so it’s well worth trying to place an order there and then.There have been many orders I wish I had planned at the show, so I tend to just do it if I really like what I see. If you want to be a bit more cautious, make a not of their stand number and go back later on.