Is the Role of Trade Shows Changing?

Many producers and rushing to get ready for the annual or semi-annual wholesale trade shows in their area.  Exhibiting at trade shows are not for the faint at heart!  They take lots of time and planning before registering for the shows.

(If you are interested in how to market and exhibit in wholesale trade shows, check Is the role of trade shows changing?out my eGuide:  Trade Show Exhibiting Secrets!)

There is a very interesting discussion on my LinkedIn Group, Selling Wholesale to Gift Shops, about the role of trade shows.

Here are a couple of the excerpts from the discussions on return on investment when planning for a trade show:

— Our decision whether to do a show or not is based on ROI (return on investment) The investment is just not financial though that;s an important part but time.(which is always in demand. If one decides to do a trade show there should be very clear goals that you want to achieve as a result of the show ie sales dollar amount /new accounts opened/leads for independent and multiples etc etc etc. Without clear goals how can one determine whether the show as successful/ hope this is helpful for some new companies seeking info about trade shows

— Being a small wholesaler I agree. It’s all about ROI and if it’s worth it for
us to attend. The cost of a basic 10 x 10 booth is in the thousands ~ yes thousands ~ of dollars. That does not include the cost of transportation, lodging, food and paying my workers to write orders during the show and setup and tear down. For a small wholesaler this is A LOT of money out of pocket. I find more success with advertising in trade magazines and my sales reps on the road. Shows just aren’t what they used to be. I’ve been a wholesaler for 10 years and what used to be a great show now we’re hoping people show up. I notice a lot of retailers take my catalogs and then tell me they have no money or they’ll think about it and don’t order. I’m not one of the big boys who can afford that. I need orders to survive and stay in business and have cut back tremendously on attending trade shows for that reason.

Lots of areas are in play with a wholesale trade show, but ROI is one very important factor to consider when going to trade show.

In my Inbox this morning was a newsletter from the Arts Business Institute that talks a bit about this issue as well:

A recent conversation with an exhibitor at a wholesale trade show was quite revealing. She was a maker with a line of body care products, and hundreds of stores carried her collection. She shared that she had only acquired about 20 new accounts at the current show, and stated that at a large gift show where she often exhibited, she would normally have gotten at least twice that many new orders.

But, she said, it was the reorders that told the tale of her success. The larger gift show, which had a different buyer base, didn’t produce reorders in the same percentage as the current show. In fact, reorders were twice as likely to happen where she was currently showing her work. That made each account far more valuable, even though there were fewer to begin with. And it made her realize that not all trade shows, or wholesale accounts, are created equal.

More on trade shows next week.

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