This week we welcome Jaclyn Carlson, a Sydney-sider who by day works for one of Australia’s leading trade show organisers. I’m thrilled to have Jaclyn share with us her insights into the world of trade show exhibiting for beginners this week and next. Take it away, Jaclyn!
Hello CWC… I’m so excited to be here this week!
Let me start by introducing myself. I work in the trade show industry, more specifically on the gift & homewares side of things. Over the past few years I have seen businesses, both large and small, go through the exhibiting process, some with more success than others. For many, committing to and exhibiting at your first trade show is an often emotionally, physically and let’s face it – financially exhausting exercise. With that said, when properly researched and thought out, it is often one of the best opportunities to grow your business and take it to the next level.
My aim with this post is to share some insight from an organiser’s point of view, and assist many of you that have decided, or are thinking about exhibiting at your first trade show. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover so let’s get started…
Before we go any further you need to ask yourself one question- are you ready to wholesale? For the sake of time I won’t get into the nitty gritty details of wholesale in this post, but before you consider exhibiting at a trade show you need to be comfortable and confident wholesaling your products.
As with any business decision it is vital to research your options before committing, There are many options within Australia depending on your market, the type of visitor you are targeting, the size and location of the show and of course, your budget. I fully recommend visiting a few during this ‘research’ stage to see the competition, traffic flow and overall feel of the event. Many organisers are happy to provide potential exhibitors with a guest pass or to personally give you a tour – just ask.
Much like the fashion industry, retail trade shows take place at certain times of year to coincide with different buying cycles. Know which fairs will suit your products best and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Do you sell beach or resort ware? Exhibiting in the summer might not work best when most buyers are stocking up for winter. This is the type of information you’ll want to know before you arrive so you can plan your sales strategy accordingly. It’s also important to shed some light on the sales cycle from the organiser’s perspective.
Once you’ve chosen your show and considered all the costs, you’ll want to take a step back and look at your product offering and ranges. Attention to detail is key. Make sure you research the competition, know your features and benefits, be confident in your pricing, set minimum orders and begin to think about packaging, and how your product will be displayed in stores.
I completely understand that planning to exhibit at your first trade show is overwhelming, but the companies that I have seen succeed are the ones that know their business, understand their target market and look at the big picture. One trade show won’t allow you to retire in luxury, so set realistic expectations. It takes time to build up your wholesale accounts and to create lasting business relationships so understand that you’ll need to commit to more than one show to see the results you want. If you are serious I would urge you to continue researching this topic, there is a wealth of information to be found that will help you make the best decision for your business.
I’ll be back next week to talk more about preparing for the actual show and tips for a success – see you then!
All images are courtesy of Reed Exhibitions.
Categories: business tips, guest blog | 1 Comment