Tips for Retail Success

From the Retail Buyer: Making Trade Shows a Smashing Success

By Vanessa Ting

This week is ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas. Leading up to this show and remembering my days walking the floor, I have some DO’s and DON’Ts for how to influence retail buyers.  I’ll focus on the DO’s:

    • DO send emails in the 2 to 3 weeks leading up to the show to set up buyer appointments.
    • DO incentivize buyer appointments with “free shipping”, order discounts or other promotions that make sense.
    • DO create a sense of urgency with a deadline.  Nothing threatening.  But a deadline for when to order to receive the promotional discounts or for when to receive inventory to leverage your marketing activity.
    • DO recognize buyers prefer anonymity and can be afraid to approach a booth if it looks empty.
    • DO know that buyers hide or flip their badges over to browse at peace.
    • DO recognize that there are two distinct segments of buyers and you need to cater to both.  One group that will make appointments and another group that will prefer to drop by un-announced.
    • DO create micro-events at your booth (coffee hour, wine hour, special appearances, scheduled presentation, etc.) to encourage buyers to visit your booth without making a commitment.
    • DO foster relationships with buyers you already work with or have existing dialogue with by hosting a group lunch, group dinner, or post-show happy hour.
    • DO partner with your competitors. Team up with companies in similar product categories to co-host happy hour or cocktail events under the guise of “networking” to entice buyers to get to know several companies at once.

These are just some of the things you can do before and during the show to foster relationships and build awareness of your brands.  Remember: Sell yourself, not just your product.

And treat it like a marathon, not a sprint. Your goal should not be to get as many orders as possible, but to meet as many buyers as possible, make a good first impression and build relationships.  Retail buying is a process that happens over time (hence, the marathon analogy).

And that concludes my cheesy sayings.

I’ll be at ABC Kids Expo on Thurs and Fri to meet with buyers I know, visit with clients and foster new relationships with exhibitors.  If you’d like to track me down during the show, give me a shout on twitter @retailpath

Good luck at the ABC Kids Expo and all future trade shows!

And don’t forget to check out the virtual trade show, and vote for us to win $250k at (this info is on the blog page sidebar too)

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