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~ How To Shop A Trade Show ~

 Tips for even the most experienced Show Buyer...
Courtesy of the National Craft Association

Planning improves results!

1. Pre-register for all show badges, seminars and special events whenever possible. It saves time eliminates standing in long lines.

 2. Come prepared. Bring your sales tax, vendor's license number, or resale certificate copies in case you want to do business with a new vendor, who will require this information.

3. Have a good supply of your business cards with complete contact information ready to give suppliers.

4. Keep your show admittance badge in a standard place as soon as you take it off so it will be ready for the next day.

5. Know your inventory needs before the show. Try to plan about six months in advance. This makes your selection easier and establishes an outline for your product line, colors, holiday items and promotions. Planning helps you stay within your budget. More efficient purchasing will save you money buy grouping your orders to take advantage of discounts and special offers.

6. Come to the show with specific goals. This is the best way to evaluate what you originally set out to do at the show. For example, find a more competitive packaging supplier; find a wider range of dried flowers; find new items to enlarge your merchandise line.

7. Review the Show Guide before you begin viewing the show. Mark off the vendors you really do not want to miss, so you don't forget to make time to speak with them. Make these your priority.

8. Some buyers like to make a quick pass through first to filter out irrelevant items and note the vendors to return to for more detail to make sure they don't miss anything.

9. Carry a small tape recorder or notebook to capture the day's details; make notes for the next day's actions and to remind you of important things you may to do upon returning home.

10. Check out the "Hot" selling items. Ask suppliers what their best two or three items are and compare notes with others.

11. When considering a new line, ask what retailers carry it in your market area. The response may disclose the marketing intent and help you decide if it is for you or not.

12. Check on the freight costs with each supplier to your area and figure it into the cost of the items you are buying. Compare the cost with other suppliers that offer the same thing.

13. Ask about Show Specials. Many suppliers offer special incentives for placing the order at the show designed to save you serious money.

14. Ask if a Co-Op Advertising program is available to you, if so, the requirements.

15. Delivery dates, make sure what you are buying does not have an impossible backorder list, especially if you need it right away. Find out average shipping time for new orders and for re-orders. Check their backorder policy.

16. Minimum order requirements: find out what first orders and re-order requirements are.

17. Return policies: get all the details up-front.

18. Total your orders as you place them, to make sure you are not exceeding your budget. It is easy to do, if you don't keep track while you are placing orders at a show.

19. Review your order, then sign it. In the trade show rush it is easy to make a mistake. Take a moment to go over the order to make sure everything you need is included; the right quantity; or it does not contain items you do not need.

20. Know your re-payment plan. Decide before you shop how you will pay: by check, with credit cards, on open account. If you want to establish an account with new vendors bring a copy of your other supplier credit references, you will need it for all new vendor credit applications.

21. Plan Shipments. Sometimes you can take advantage of quantity discount programs by planning split shipments over several months. Check with suppliers, it can save you money.

22. Ask Questions! You are among experts who are willing to answer questions about selling, market trends, business tactics & more.


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