How-To

Exhibiting At Trade Shows. Tip 1: Know The Market

One of the biggest events during the year for any and all apparel and/or accessories (including footwear) manufacturers is the trade show. This is where you send out your secret weapon: the marketing pros. This is one of the most exhausting, exhilarating, expensive, and perhaps the most rewarding event(s) throughout the selling process.

RESEARCH. ESTABLISH GOALS. PLAN TO SUCCEED.

Chose The Right Show.

Face-to-face marketing – showing at trade events where you meet prospective buyers in person – is one of the most expensive media buys in the industry. Yet, when done right, exhibiting at a fashion tradeshow may be the most lucrative return-on-investment going.

When it comes to picking the show in which to exhibit, especially for smaller companies, it is important to realize that exhibiting at a show can really turn out to be a killer to your budget. Nowadays especially, it becomes a hefty tab to fly staff and materials around the country to exhibit, let alone to market your company properly to make the most of exhibiting. Know the trade shows appropriate for your product category and price point. That means knowing what’s going on in the market before you start reserving booth space. The stakes are too high not to research.

One way to research fashion trade events, is by referencing the WeConnectFashion Fashion Tradeshow Calendar.

It’s also a good idea to know what is going on locally. There are quite a few Apparel Marts throughout the USA who produce trade events centered on the region’s market weeks. Yes, in between New York and Los Angeles, regional apparel marts play a vital role in serving the fashion industry. In addition to the Dallas Market Center and Atlanta’s AmericasMart, other marts in the United States include Denver, Seattle, Nashville, Minneapolis, and Miami.

This may sound off-the wall, but consider talking to a couple of competitors to find out where they show. Believe it! Speaking with fellow entrepreneurs is a great way to get the low-down on a trade show: from caliber of buyers who attend, to what to expect and overall impressions– the good, the bad, and the was-it-worth-it truth. Who knows, it is possible someone you speak with may know of a company that would like to share booth space. Also, asking questions about specific shows could help you determine if it is in your best interest to have a strong showing at one very large and expensive show rather than having an “okay” presence at several inexpensive and smaller regional shows .

Know Your Goals And Stay Focused.

What is the overall outcome you wish to accomplish? Is it to sell products? Whatever the goal is, stay focused. Trade shows provide an essential outlet in which more than one task can be accomplished. This could include: - Generating leads. - Building contact lists. - Maintaining your image and contact with customers. - Introducing new products. - Creating and establishing an image and relationship with new customers. - Evaluating competition. - Attract potential staff and reps. - And…make SALES

Work-up a Budget & Run the Numbers

There are many costs involved with exhibiting at a trade show. You need to keep track of every cost incurred so as not to miss-spend anything. This includes: marketing to buyers before the show, at the show, and after the show; booth rental, travel, food and lodge for yourself and employees, shipping costs, marketing materials, wages, promotional items, booth display (along with union costs for construction) and manufacturing expenses for any and all products that you are showing.

Pre-Show Marketing. Important Note:

According to recent a tradeshow exit poll survey, contacting buyers and setting up appointments BEFORE a tradeshow was cited as one of the top ways to ensure a successful return on investment (ROI). Makes sense. With limited time, buyers will tend to gravitate to the vendors they have relationships with. You need to dedicate time to marketing your brand to prospective retail attendess. We can help. See retail buyer lists developed for tradeshow exhibitors.