With the Spring16 round of fashion trade shows almost upon us, I thought this a useful time to repost an article from California Apparel News in May that includes insights from an outstanding group of trade show producers on the preparation and execution of exhibiting at their shows.
While much of the information is straightforward and obvious, it does provide a refresher for those experienced hands heading into another season of shows, and may provide some new insights to those new to the US fashion trade show circuit.
The article also puts faces and names to the producers of some of the most well-known and successful showcases around the country.
The crux of the advice is:
- Prepare – use all avenues both direct and indirect to advertise your participation to prospective buyers. Pre-show calls, and email and social media outreach are vital. As much as possible, ensure your booth look and feel matches your brand aesthetic. Plan in detail the merchandising of your booth.
- Be proactive – be open, available, organized and knowledgeable during the show to maximize your opportunities with buyers. Ensure the booth is clean and uncluttered, your cell phone is charged, you have a system to record prospects and foot traffic enquiries, and line sheets and marketing collateral are easily accessible. Step out and engage prospects.
- Follow up – you have spent valuable resources to attend the show. Make sure that all prospects not matter how warm are followed up. Make sure your team asks prospects how and when they would like to receive follow up. Make sure the instructions are noted and followed accordingly.
Good luck. I hope the coming season is a success for everyone involved.
I will be reporting from Agenda Long Beach that starts tomorrow at the Long Beach Convention Center. Let the shows begin!
Rules of Attraction: Tips and Advice for Getting Attendees to Visit Your Trade Show Booth
Exhibiting at a trade show is a great way to expose your brand or services to a wide range of potential buyers, but there’s more to it than simply showing up and waiting for attendees to stop by. Although there’s no substitute for pre-show planning, there are still ways to attract buyers once the show has begun. From well-merchandised displays and dedicated greeters to snacks and giveaways, exhibitors have a number of ways to draw attendees to their booth or showroom.
California Apparel News recently caught up with several trade-show organizers to ask for tips and advice for exhibitors looking to generate excitement and attract more buyers at the trade show.
Agenda is different from many shows in that we actually discourage brands from creating a lot of excitement at their booths. We have stringent rules in place to prevent brands from having any type of amplified sound, promotional models or giveaways in front of their booths. We also have guidelines for the displays, such as how tall a booth can be, and restrict the amount of additional fixtures or signage outside of what we provide. The look of our booths is tightly curated to encourage a focus on product rather than the aesthetics of the booth.
We encourage our brands to show special or exclusive items that are only available if a buyer orders at the show to promote transactions on site. We try to encourage our brands to use the show as a vehicle to engage in meetings with existing and prospective customers, and we encourage them to set appointments and management meetings at the show.
MRket, AccessoriesTheShow, Stitch
MRket, AccessoriesTheShow and Stitch are highly juried trade shows, and, by providing the right atmosphere for our attendees, the show floors are easy to navigate and naturally create a sense of community. We are adding new engagement areas this season to support discovery and add a new energy and buzz to the overall experience for both our retailers and designers. It’s about enjoying time at the shows and elevating the show experience. Our activations aid in creating conversation and generating great content for the designer’s social-media channels, which in turn creates an instant awareness from the buyers while in Las Vegas for market week. Some of these new engagement areas include a Style & Shoot section where designers will have the opportunity to participate in a live photo shoot with a fashion photographer, stylist and models. After each shoot, we post the images to BJI’s social-media accounts and share them with our designers as well. Posting the Style & Shoot images during the shows helps to garner further exposure from our collective audiences.
It is so important for designers to “tell their story” to the retailers, get their message out and create a buzz around their collection before a market week. We are passionate about helping our designers fuel this buzz by staying closely connected to the retail community through a myriad of channels. We can’t stress enough how beneficial it is for exhibitors to participate in all the marketing opportunities MRket, AccessoriesTheShow and Stitch have to offer. Our diverse mix of communication is designed to serve the needs of every one of our retailers. This includes pre-show, on-site and post-show marketing materials, our My Market mobile app, extensive personal outreach programs and our show websites, which present a complete story by providing look books, show guides, exhibitor profiles, article and brand buzz sections as well as almost daily email blasts. Also, by engaging in our show conversation on social media, exhibitors are aligning themselves with all things show-related. This creates a real-time awareness and makes it possible to be seen even when busy working with customers at the show.
Pre-show outreach is imperative for a successful show, and I strongly urge our exhibitor base to be proactive in reaching out to potential buyers weeks prior to market. Whether it is doing store visits, sending teaser pictures of their new lines or cross promotions via social media, building a relationship prior to coming to market is key. If these relationships are cultivated correctly, buyers will make the extra effort to come to see a rep based on their relationship.
That being said, there are certainly specific things an exhibitor can do to appeal to walk-in traffic once a show begins: 1) Present your brand in an attractive and organized space with displays that showcase your product well; 2) Smile and acknowledge buyers passing by without seeming overly aggressive. Make them feel comfortable enough to walk inside and browse your goods at their leisure; 3) Good candy, complimentary water bottles and other treats are nice ice breakers. Exhibitor takeaways such as branded tote bags and branded water bottles are traveling advertisements and are noticed by other buyers walking the market; 4) Take advantage of advertising, display and sponsorship opportunities offered by show producers to help direct attention to specific exhibitors during showtime. Basically, exhibitors need to be proactive participants of a show, maximizing every opportunity that helps their product stand out within a show environment. Once they’ve done what they can to capture a buyer’s attention with presentation and self-promotion, it’s ultimately the product that will hook the buyer in.
Engage with our Atlanta Apparel social-media community. Using and following our hashtags—#AtlantaApparel and#ATLApparelFav—is an excellent tool for researching and reaching buyers who are in the building. We have an outpouring of positive feedback from exhibitors who have taken the time to make connections online.
Take advantage of the Digital Showroomsatwww.americasmart.com. Buyers can locate product info, view look-book photos, and connect with the brand’s website and social-media communities on these complimentary online listings.
Demand the buyers’ attention with on-site advertising and sponsorships. From a sponsored Daily Strut fashion show on our atrium runway to a spread in our Buyer’s Guide to a Video Wall loop, advertising is a great way to break through the noise and market distraction. A great ad campaign is a key component in building brand recognition.
Be approachable, free of distractions and attentive to your customers’ needs! Once they enter a booth or showroom, it is up to the exhibitor to build and grow a strong relationship with the client. This is definitely the most important way to bring in buyers.
Axis takes aesthetics and culture into account at every turn. We curate both on-site activations and off-site events, paying close attention to providing a conducive platform to promote retail, media, authentic tastemaker face-to-face time.
Our exhibiting collections exhibit in a gallery-like setting with white walls, natural wood and modern fixtures that mimic an architectural facade that plays up the brand’s story and focuses on the product.
We encourage our brands to work together with us and use us as a resource, define/outline their retailer distribution goals pre-show and further streamline their brand’s story through our digital campaigns to our networks. It’s incredibly important to be consistent with your pre-show outreach and brand messaging, communicating to your network of prospective and current retailers, media, industry peers and influencers.
An authentic way to spread the word is through word-of-mouth through these networks. We highly encourage setting appointments for retailers and media. A few other on-site incentives include offering in-booth targeted gifting, showing only exclusive product.
Of course there is no substitute for pre-market prospecting, but there definitely are some simple yet important ways to catch the eye of buyers during the actual show. At Brand Assembly, our setup is a blank canvas with no intricate booth build-outs; this is because we are huge advocates of having the product speak for itself.
With the product as the main feature, it is important to have the booth merchandised smartly by being clean and organized and not to overcrowd or underutilize a brand’s racks or shelves. The brand should have their “show” pieces strategically placed throughout to keep a buyer’s attention while browsing a collection. The product should be wrinkle-free and not falling off the hangers, and the product should be reset after each appointment worked.
Another important suggestion is for the sales rep to be engaged, warm, inviting and prepared. The sales rep should make eye contact with buyers as they pass by or get up to greet buyers that come in. The rep should have a clean work space and look the part. Wearing the clothes of the season is one of the best selling tools! The rep should also have exceptional knowledge of the product and pricing and be prepared with key selling tools such as legible line sheets and look books. It all sounds like common sense but is truly one of the most important aspects to initiate any contact with a potential buyer.
Every season at Brand Assembly there are many new and emerging brands showing their collection for the very first time, so we are especially sensitive to providing them guidance on how to stand out and attract buyers that are not necessarily there to seek them out. Our simple advice for them is “focus on the basics.”
At Coeur, we know that having the right brands featured in a well-curated manner helps attract the best buyers overall each season. But when it comes to the exhibitors, they can do several things to create excitement and bring more buyers to the show. Brands can prepare ahead of time by having a strong campaign image that resonates with their brand but also adds spark to what they plan to feature at the show. This can be in the form of daily images sent or posted through their social-media outlets or promo videos of the new collection and its inspiration. Brands can also showcase special behind-the-scenes footage that also works for press, bloggers and those key buyers or real potential accounts they are looking to attract. Participating brands can do a string of teasers to send all stores presenting information on the show as well. By doing this, brands can make moves to connect with stores that are a match and even gain appointments this way as noted last season with a few top stores seeing great images during the Coeur show in Los Angeles on Instagram or Twitter that caught buyers’ attention, which got them to pop by to see and write the line.
We also encourage all brands to properly research the stores they feel could be potentials. This is an integral part for each brand to spearhead and be responsible for. Contacting these stores before the show to set up appointments is also a way to ensure a stronger showcase at Coeur. There’s always walk-by traffic, of course, but we know that brands cannot solely count on this to obtain orders. It’s about each brand being proactive and not reactive.
Another aspect at Coeur is that due to the overall vibe and setting of Coeur and what we provide, brands can and often do create strong collaborations with other key brands for future projects. Depending on the collaboration, this too manifests great opportunities and buzz that buyers also notice and get excited about.
Create a buzz by utilizing social media before, during and after the show. Let your social-media audience know where you’ll be. You can also create a buzz during the event by offering promotional items. T-shirts, water bottles, snacks with the company logo always attract potential customers to your booth.
One of a kind experience: Why would a buyer visit your booth and not another one? Why would a customer buy online or decide to visit your store instead of another one? Because of the unique experience you create. A great look and feel is nothing without offering a great experience. A combination of this carries the most weight when attracting buyers on the show site. The brand’s presentation makes the space inviting and an easy-to-share quality with buyers. Providing buyers with supporting digital and printed material of their brand(s) is also a great way to ease business on site and encourage word of mouth. Furthermore, brands need to be creative and bold when looking to attract buyers. This can be done through various incentives such as get-togethers, serving food, beverages, handing out flyers, showing videos, giving goodie bags, holding events within your booth and so on.
Last, through encouraging your team to work together and maintain enthusiasm throughout the show, buyers are more likely to want to come into your booth. An exciting and motivating attitude will enhance a brand’s productivity and experience.
Social media: Another way to encourage attracting buyers and creating a great experience on the show site is through making the most of the social-media platforms available. Brands should constantly tweet, post on Instagram, Facebook, etc., throughout the duration of the show. By using official hashtags and letting people know where a brand is and what it is doing is a very easy way to gain extra, free exposure and encourage buyers to visit the booth.
Spend time in and out of your booth: It is very easy for a brand to get sucked into manning their booth all day during a trade show. However, team members should try to share duties in order to network during conferences, social events and walk the show floor. By doing this, it is a great way to help gain industry knowledge, tips and new tools. It is also an ideal place to meet new people, which helps give a good return on investment outside of the sales aspect of the trade show.
Meryl Mandelbaum, Managing Director, Designers and Agents
Designers and Agents’ recommendation to its exhibitors is to keep it simple. Obviously, there is no substitution for great product. A well-merchandised and focused presentation is key to attract buyers’ attention. Giveaways, snacks, greeters, etc., can be “gimmicky” and are more of a distraction than anything else. We realize that this may not be the consensus, but in regard to the aesthetic and culture of our show, this is what works.
At Dallas Market Center, providing resources to guarantee exhibitor success while at market is a top priority and one of the best ways we can serve our new and loyal customers. We’re thrilled for what’s in store for our marketplace in the second half of the year, on all fronts. With consumer confidence in Texas 26 points higher than the national average, we’re seeing growth, increases in attendance from key buyers and new manufacturers at each market across all industries.
One of the ways we encourage exhibitors to generate excitement and draw buyers to their showrooms is through the power of social media. With our following of nearly 50,000 buyers, manufacturers, reps, bloggers and industry friends—more than any other apparel marketplace in the country—we encourage exhibitors to connect with our pages during market. We see that exhibitors who utilize our#dallasmarket hashtag, post visually appealing and trendsetting product photos, purchase information or location garner more attention from buyers. The on-staff social-media team hosts seminars on the fundamentals of customer engagement through social media, which can directly translate into sales. Our staff is always available on and off market to aid our exhibitors in social-media success.
Additionally, we provide several opportunities for our exhibitors to have product featured in areas throughout market such as during our runway trend fashion shows, sponsoring a buyer’s lounge and our inspirational displays located throughout the building. Our incredible visual team professionally designs these displays from exhibitor product and highlights specific niche categories of merchandise and trends, and our runway shows draw hundreds of buyers looking for the latest trends of the upcoming season. With these opportunities, buyers are able to see the products come to life on a model or on a mannequin, which helps them envision how their customer will see the product. These elements are also positioned in central buyer locations and allow exhibitors to get in front of their audience and present their product. When showrooms participate, buyers notice it.
We also encourage and promote exhibitors who host events during market as well as special guest appearances such as designers, authors, celebrities and more. Inviting buyers to come be inspired by a guest speaker or celebrity always excites the crowd. Whenever exhibitors decide to host an event, we feature these events with a promotional listing in our Showtimer guide, which is distributed across campus. Above all, an exhibitor’s product is always at the forefront of generating buyer interest. Our marketplace is full of exhibitors with unique and one-of-a-kind product, and we invite our industry friends to experience the inspiration, growth and commerce in Dallas.
To maximize exposure while at a trade show, Factory Direct recommends:
•Providing sought-after giveaways.
•A small takeaway that describes the DNA of your company at a glance—perhaps with a special offer for coming to the show or consultation.
•Aesthetically pleasing graphics.
•Working your social media—talking about giveaways and special offers for visiting.
•Social media—actively pre-show, during the show and post show.
Most importantly, for all parties in the booth to bring the positive energy, because it’s contagious.
Fashion Market Northern California—FMNC—has a great reputation for being a very friendly show to attend and shop. It starts at the front desk. From the moment buyers register and get their badge to walking down the aisle in our open-booth environment, attendees tell us FMNC is a relaxing and fun place to do their buying.
Smiling and a positive attitude always is a great attraction!
This translates to our exhibitors as well. Exhibitors with a friendly attitude that look and wear their brands and/or designers make a statement to a buyer walking by. Buyers appreciate how the designs, whether apparel or accessories, look on the body.
The most successful exhibitors create an environment that is visually attractive. They have the experience and past successes to know that if they offer displays with new designs and collections right up front, it will attract new buyers.
Limited displays curated by color and style create a visual landscape for the buyer to imagine how the merchandise will translate in their shops.
Most of the time, less is more. … The exhibitors that offer a unique limited taste of a designer up front know that it will attract the interest of the buyer to want to know more of a designer’s story.
Lifestyle posters, company logos, and signage professionally printed and mounted present a polished statement. Additional lighting will highlight displays on the wall. Mirrors need to be in reach of a buyer trying on apparel and/or accessories.
Offering a comfortable place to sit, water and snacks will encourage a buyer to stay in the booth, ask more questions and write orders.
Successful exhibitors have extra staff that are knowledgeable to help in the booth. You do not want to miss a buyer that is ready to buy.
We as a show also strive to create buyer satisfaction by offering free parking, lunch coupons, afternoon snacks and a late night with wine and beer for extended shopping, and we recently have added Starbucks coffee and food trucks in addition to the salads and other items available from the San Mateo Event Center catering service.
We provide special rates at the Marriott, which includes parking and a shuttle to and from the hotel each day of the show. We also offer a free room at the Marriott to any new buyer attending the show.
We recommend that our exhibitors edit their offerings down to their best/newest items—and show their fabrics in full garments with the best possible wash. A lot of times, the instinct for exhibitors is to pack as much of their collections into their booths as possible, but often the result is a cluttered, unfocused booth that looks more like a yard sale than a beautiful collection. It is hard for even the most gorgeous of fabrics to stand out in a packed rack. We all eat with our eyes first, and a well-edited booth allows designers to more clearly see a mill’s point of view.
Giveaways are also a good way to get attention—but only if they tell a mill’s story and are, for lack of a better word, cool. Everyone seems to be more conscious of waste and what gets sent to landfills. So, pens and traditional giveaways such as calculators or lanyards no longer cut it. Giveaways have to be something that recipients will actually use and keep. Some of our exhibitors give away items like teddy bears made from knit denim, beautiful pouches made from selvage denim, indigo-dyed woven scarves, denim bow ties and pens carved from wood—all things that tell their brand story and are novel and memorable and functional.
Lazr Tradeshow is preparing for another successful event slated for October during LA Market week. Our retail-relations team is hard at work informing both our exhibitors and retailers on key reasons to attend our event.
Lazr’s retail-relations team works hand in hand with exhibitors to pinpoint targeted retailers. Lazr management also visits retail stores and buyers face to face to add a personal touch. Over the last several show cycle, our success is based on building personal relationships and networking. This in turn creates trust and builds rapport.
Our grassroots networking approach along with visiting retailers and buyers, one by one, person by person, one door at a time, assures a positive return on exhibitors’ investment experience.
There’s definitely no substitute for pre-planning. That’s the best thing you can do for your business at a trade show. Outside of that, the key thing to remember is that you have about 15 seconds to tell your brand’s story when a buyer is walking through the aisle. That story should be told through a combination of branding, personality and, of course, merchandising—less is definitely more. On the personality side, it’s important to be approachable and engaging rather than pushy. Always look alert and attentive when sitting in your booth, not preoccupied. Eye contact and a smile are the best conversation starters.
Drawing attendees to your booth starts well before MAGIC begins. I see it as a process with five critical components:
Pre-sell. Don’t wait until you are behind the booth to start selling. Start communicating with your target buyers before the show starts. Nowadays, we all receive way too many emails. Buyers respond to visuals, so invest in handwritten notes with look books and invite buyers to visit you at the show. Ensure they’re aware of your offerings and set appointments early. Follow up with phone calls when possible.
Curate. As far as booth presentation goes, less is more. Buyers are drawn to product they can see. Know your buyers and their stores. Highlight which products are your best-sellers and a selection of others that fit into their store specifically. If this is your first time meeting, get to know their needs a bit more and schedule a follow-up conversation. Ask questions and show a genuine interest in their customer demographics. This mindfulness will differentiate you from the masses.
Booth Environment. Create an environment within your booth that not only exudes the heart of your brand but makes you and your team excited to be there. Energy is contagious, and if your sales reps are excited, your buyers will naturally follow suit. Also, add props inside your booth, for example, old suitcases with shoes placed on top. This shows the retailers a clever and inexpensive idea for displaying the product. Retailers need the visual stimulation of how you see your brand sitting on the store shelves. Remember, they too have limited space to bring the shoes to life. Less is more when setting up your booth shelves.
Network. At the end of the day, “People want to do business with who they like.” Don’t leave relationship building behind the booth. Engage with your key buyers and industry colleagues at exclusive dinners and after-hour events. MAGIC offers loads of opportunities for networking.
Social Media. Social media is a way to get your brand in front of the world. Consumers and retailers are using social media to glean an understanding of what trends are important. Leverage the power of social media to let your followers know about your presence and compel them to visit your booth through giveaways, contests, etc. Use tools such as Foursquare to create promotional incentives and generate buzz before, during and post show.
Nothing really can take the place of pre-show planning, but some other ways to attract buyers include:
Promotions: Friendly and flirty bikini-clad girls are a staple at our show. You see them everywhere, and do they work to get buyers into a booth? You bet they do! As do in-booth fashion shows, celebrity appearances, complimentary snacks and swag bags. Great show promotions not only capture a prospective buyer’s attention, they also garner their contact information to nurture that relationship. I would point out though that while it’s important to have fun and be creative, you should avoid too many promotions and focus on just one or two great ideas. You want to promote as a way to get the right people in the booth, but you don’t want to fill your booth with people who are there just to take advantage of your promos who are not interested in your products.
Networking: Our show offers multiple opportunities to network throughout the four days including our annual Cocktail Party and Fashion Presentation, Spring/Summer 2017 Colors & Trend Seminar, Swim Lounge, Breakfast Bar and High Tea. I suggest taking advantage of these moments to create new and strengthen existing relationships. Talk to everyone, everywhere—simply saying hello could generate a great new contact.
Environment: I suggest a clean, warm, eye-catching and inviting environment. Don’t overpack the space with too much furniture and displays. You want to make sure that there is enough space for you, your team and your buyers. Be the oasis in the maelstrom where they can seek refuge. Another key point to remember is that it should be accessible. The interior set up of the booth is just as important, if not more so, than the exterior. The working area should be designed to comfortably work a line with buyers.
Staff: It’s important to remember that the employees in your booth are your ambassadors. It is important to staff your booth with a team of outgoing and knowledgeable people who will be able to disseminate information about your products while simultaneously engaging people who stop by to find out if they are potential buyers.
Bel Esprit Showroom—The International Showroom for Ethical Fashion
Showroom International—The International Showroom for Independent Fashion
Bel Esprit and Showroom International work with independent designers, and we know firsthand the difficulties these designers have in attracting the attention of buyers. We created our event, Moda 360, to help. Marketing a fashion line today requires more than a booth at a trade show or a runway during a fashion week; designers need great visuals and branding out in the press and on social media to attract attention, not just of buyers but also the end consumer. Moda 360 challenges designers to creatively present their collections and provides them with necessary marketing materials (photos, videos, press) to get buyers’ attention.
The focus at trade shows is writing orders, so most booths are arranged to provide all the SKUs and options. But retailers also want to know how to sell a collection to their customers, so designers who provide merchandising and presentation ideas to buyers will make it easier for retailers to visualize how the collection will work in their store. Also, the more designers define their brand and have that brand representation out in the market, the more easily retailers will understand the concept, and the right retailers will be attracted to the collection.
The retail market is difficult, with bricks-and-mortar stores competing with e-commerce, and retailers want to be sure that what they see and buy at trade shows will sell through. Designers who engage their end customers and creatively express their brand for press/media and in social media will attract the right stores for their collections, and retailers will have more confidence in buying a brand when they see the consumer engagement, they will know the target market of the collection. Because most independent designers do not have adequate resources to produce these marketing materials, we developed our event to give a different perspective on collections, focusing on the creative presentation of the brand and providing a portfolio of promotional materials for designers to use before and during trade shows so that their brand concept is known and understood, and buyers who are interested in the designer’s concept will seek them out.
Be original in your approach. It’s all about the personal connection. At The New Mart, people come first.
Word-of-mouth marketing during the show is extremely powerful. Friendly interactions with new people can go a long way, so talk to everyone, say hello, get to know the person in the elevator or on the way back from grabbing your morning coffee.
You will stand out by going the extra mile— i.e., host a party, attend events or seminars that are happening during a show—talk to your neighbors, the buyer entourages, whoever. Trade-show events are professional, but they are also social. Put your best foot forward in every way.
Create an enjoyable experience for your returning buyers while utilizing time as best you know how. This way you can encounter the many opportunities available to you. And don’t forget, keep lines of communication open during the show at all times—be available by phone, text, email, fax and social media!
It’s all about the product and its availability and both our exhibitors and retailers know this. Due to the nature of Offprice being a fast-inventory turn, quick decision and a high-energy environment, where one deal can make your quarter numbers or maybe your year, planning is the key.
We provide various tools to assist in the pre-show preparations for both our exhibitors and retailers to ensure they have a meaningful and hopefully a profitable experience with the Offprice Show.
Gilles Lasbordes, General Manager, Première Vision
First, besides the fact they can inform their customers of their presence at the show, we have different ways for exhibitors to increase their visibility.
First, all exhibitors are invited by the Première Vision Fashion team to send their best creative and innovative products for the different fashion forums. Being on these forums is a good way to be noticed by visitors.
They can use the digital tools PV developed and is still developing:
•Filling in the questionnaire to give more information [than] they have in the e-catalog.
•Sending all information about their company, their products, their innovations, their activities and news. This information (they all get an email from the communication department as a reminder every season) would be used in different media: the website, our social networks, our daily paper distributed at the show, our new smartphone application. … The more specificities they give, the more chance they have to be included in those media and to be seen by most of the visitors.
•They can also invest in media advertising to draw attention to their collections before the show.
•They can also organize events linked to the company directly at the show—conferences, presentations, etc. … It’s a good way to get communication before and during the show.
On site at the show anything that offers visibility is key, including participation in product showcases, fashion shows, floor stickers and celebrity/athlete autograph signings. Timely A/V, thematic props and overall merchandising can’t be dismissed either. Stay focused and, most of all, engaged with the attendee. If you sit in the back corner, nose deep in your iPad, don’t be surprised when you don’t have a good show or attract orders.
Beyond the physical, don’t forget digital opportunities. Last year we introduced opt-in based “networking” between buyers and exhibitors via our mobile app. The response has been great, and it’s available at no cost. Also, one tool that’s often overlooked at the show is lead-retrieval systems. Data capture is key to sales success and improvements in lead retrieval systems now enable instant access to data and allow staff to capture and respond to leads in more efficient ways.
For exhibitors, a successful trade-show experience really starts with a booth and great product. The entire show floor is competing for buyers’ attention, and exhibitors need to build awareness of their brand before, during and after the show for the greatest success. Surf Expo is known for being a “business-first” show, where buyers come to write orders. Buyers have limited time, and most are booked with appointments from open to close each day, then they spend nights writing orders and meeting/networking with exhibitors. Some allocate a morning or afternoon to walk the show floor to see what’s new. We develop our sponsorship and advertising opportunities with this in mind. From pre-show, product-driven emails and direct mail to product inclusion in our fashion shows and our many showcases (new product, new exhibitor and footwear), there are ample opportunities to help exhibitors stand out.
WWIN (WomensWear In Nevada)
First and foremost, we encourage exhibitors to let buyers know that they will be at the show and where their booth is located. At the show itself, we have numerous ways of attracting buyers to booths. We offer large photos, signage and banners at near our cost. We offer well-placed mannequins that we professionally dress with appropriate signage and even have a special section for “made in the USA.” We offer showcases for the accessories people, and perhaps the best new way to get buyers to a specific booth is via our show app. By using it, buyers can search by category, booth location, exhibitor name and more. And we have staff throughout the show to help buyers find specific lines or categories.