The retail trade show season is well and truly upon us and over this weekend and the coming week many retailers will be heading off to the NEC Birmingham for the Spring Fair, the biggest giftware trade show in the UK, a pilgrimage many retailers will endeavour to make!
On arrival you can sense the excitement of this huge event as the continuous stream of coaches delivers thousands of buyers to this massive exhibition centre. By the time you reach the afternoon point that sense of excitement starts to wear a bit thin as the dehydration sets in, the legs and back start to ache and the shoulders carry the weight of masses of product catalogues and samples.
Love it or hate it, and I think the majority of retailers love it, the Spring Fair is a great showcase of what’s on offer across the world, from big brand companies to new up and coming start ups. There’s always something to inspire and excite and there’s an ever flowing stream of new ideas to take back to your own shop.
As with any big event like this if you’re going to get the most out of it you need to go with a plan. It’s a bit like Christmas shopping; you have a list of family and friends to buy for, a rough idea of the type of things they like or want, and of course most importantly, a budget to work to!
It’s very easy at these events to get caught up in the euphoria and before you know it your own enthusiasm and those savvy sales agents will get the better of you. By the time you get back to your shop and the excitement has worn off you’ll have spent twice as much as you intended on a product range that really doesn’t sit comfortably in your retail offer, I know, I’m speaking from experience! Make a plan and stick to it, first and foremost remember who your customers are and what they like, have a budget (and some sales targets) and think about how and where these products will reside once they reach your show floor. If you’re really on the ball think about how you’ll be merchandising and marketing these new products too! One final thing, be careful of the impulse buy, I know it’s what we want our customers to do but it’s not such a good thing for buyers. Try to gather as much information as you can, take it away, review the options and don’t place those orders until your satisfied with your final edit.
So along with all the renewed acquaintances, kisses and a few hugs (hopefully) and the aches and pains that add something extra to the event just remember to embrace the experience and if you see me around say hello…