Just Been to a Merchandise Trade Show? 4 Things Shop Owners Must Do Next

Four post-trade show tips that will help maximize your recent trade show experience, remember those great vendors you just saw and ensure your retail business is set up to succeed. Hint: keep those catalogs and stay social.

A trip to a big trade show like ASD Market Week last week is an incredible opportunity and can be a milestone in the growth of your business. The experience is exhilarating, exciting, and most of all, it’s expanding — an opportunity to build your product range and really jump with your business to the next level.  But after a few days of intensive sourcing, you can find yourself back home, surrounded by catalogs and your mind in a whirl.

As you return to reality, how do you structure your next steps to get the best from your trade show experience and scale your business up?
I spoke to several new and seasoned trade show buyers who kindly shared these post-trade show tips;


Tip #1 | Keep All of Your Catalogs!


First-time ASD Market Week attendee and online seller Brian Smith told me that he returns to his collection of catalogs from the show again and again. 

When he sees product inspiration in his day-to-day life, whether at a store, on television or in a magazine commercial, he pulls out his catalogs and researches potential suppliers.  

Taking the time to collect and neatly store catalogs s a valuable library of information and a wealth of future business potential that you can access all year.  He also suggests collecting catalogs on the first day of the show while there are still plenty available.


Tip #2 | Use the Trade Show Directory


Art Santos, frequent trade show buyer (and attendee of ASD Market Week), takes the digital organization approach:
He explained to me, “When I speak with a company and think there is the potential to do some business with them, I make a note of their company name, booth number, and a brief comment about what it is I like about that company or their products on my phone. With so many companies there, things can become a bit of a blur by the end of the day. With the booth number, you can pull up their contact information in the ASD -mobile app or printed Show  Directory, and should you need to go back to that booth before the end of the show, they will be a lot easier to find.”
Additionally, the ASD Show Planner has features to quickly store interesting exhibitor details in your planner, and also allows you to contact them directly by private message.  Although you may have left the trade show, the contacts and relationships you build there can last a lifetime.  And thanks to technology, you can keep their details available at your fingertips.


Tip #3 | Prepare Your Space


When I spoke to Amazon seller Lauren Fisher at ASD, she was buying from several exhibitor booths and arranging to have the products shipped to her.  She and her husband run an online family retail business.  

When I caught up with her this week, a large shipment of boxes was arriving. She was preparing for their arrival by clearing her backlog and arranging both the physical space and calendar space to process them.  For a step-by-step guide to visual merchandising click here.
Whether your business is large or small, shipping day can be exciting, chaotic, fast-moving and physical, so utilize shipping tracking information to confirm exactly when and your products will be arriving.  

Plan in advance to have enough staff, tools and all the coffee you will need on hand so you can efficiently process your shipments and enjoy the day of unpacking your shiny new product, ready to hit the shelves.
Although a trade show may only last a few days, the knowledge, opportunities. and relationships seeded there can last a lifetime.  

Just a little preparation and organization can help you maximize the benefits of those few days and springboard your business to new heights over the coming months.  Even better, now you’ve planted those seeds with these post-trade show tips, you can return to future shows, ready to reconnect and keep on growing.


Tip #4 | Go back through the trade show’s Instagram account to review featured vendors

Social media is now the preferred way trade shows deliver buyers real-time information on product trends, key vendors, and speaker sessions.

When you get home, review the show’s Instagram feed for vendors you may have missed – you can even “save” the ones you like and look at them later. For example, ASD’s Instagram feed from the 4-day event is chock-full of spotlighted vendors and amazing products to follow up on.