Making the best of the trade show as a buyer

Exploring the best strategies and things to do before, during and after a tradeshow as a buyer.  

What are your business, product, and end consumer needs? Determining the type of tradeshow that is best for your investment. Discovering the added value by attending a specific tradeshow. Building and managing vendor relationships to transform your business.

Looking at industry trends and innovations, what are your specific needs?  

  • Are you looking to buy brands or manufacture your own products?
  • If you are building your own brand, what types of suppliers do you need?
  • Its all about the details, are you working with fibers and yarns, looking for specific raw materials, seeking the best manufacturing partners, looking for trends, branding or design services?

As an exhibitor and attendee trade shows can be costly depending on their vicinity to your location.

Preparing for a trade show, it is essential to do your research, qualify, validate, and vet the tradeshows; speak to others in the industry, research online, look at trade publications, check with associations, look at chat groups, and figure out if any of your current or prospect vendors will be exhibiting?

With all prospect vendors, it is ideal to make an appointment to discuss current or future programs, and/or follow up on new developments.  

Trade show Planning

Make a list and check it three times:

  • If available, pre-register yourself and other colleagues for the tradeshow to avoid standing in lines 
  • Determine your shopping list, what you want from the tradeshow
  • Make sure everyone attending the tradeshow understands the parameters for item costs on your shopping list; as you don’t want them investing time looking at overpriced products.  
    • What is the target price for the item you are looking for? 
    • If needed break it down by the specific part or stage  
  • Do you research before the show to see if anything of interest is happening during the show, possibly opening night events, public speakers, presentations, fashion shows, or trend areas? 
    • If you intend to visit, make sure you block time in your day.

At the Tradeshow

  • At the beginning of the show, pick up a show guide, to determine the location of any current or prospect vendors you would like to visit.  
  • Passing by the vendor’s booth stop in and say hi and confirm you’re meeting or make an appointment if not yet confirmed. 

Working on new developments, it is always good to bring reference yarns, fabrics, products, or color requirements to review with current and prospect suppliers.  

If you do not have samples, try to get as much information about the product that you want to best describe the material type, yarn count, finish, content, and weight or size.  

In closing, always good to be professional, stay positive, be polite, and considerate of others as English maybe be there 2nd, 3rd, or 4th language.  Thank your current or prospect supplier and let them know you are looking forward to future business. 

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