Right now retail and wholesale focus are rightfully on upcoming holiday season. However, for wholesalers there’s another season that needs to be taken into consideration immediately following the last shipping day of the year. Preparing for a trade show can take just as long as preparing for your busy season. Getting some clarity and focus on what your trade show goals should be started even before Halloween.
Big Numbers and Big Business
Dollar for dollar trade shows one the best venues for wholesalers and manufacturers get their products in front of buyers. Beyond catalogs, beyond the Internet, face-to-face real-world interaction at a trade show opens new channels reach decision-making buyers with 82 percent of trade show at attendees having what is termed Net Buying Influence. According to Exhibit Surveys, 49 percent of trade show at attendees come with buying plans, intending to purchase one or more of the products and services being showcased if not at the show, then within the next 12 months. Trade shows are especially important venues for new business owners, or buyers new to their positions, with some 38 percent of at attendees attending a show for the first time. And one of the key factors pulling in your intended audience is exhibit efficiency.
Exhibit efficiency is the percentage of your intended audience attending the show with which you have had meaningful and extended contact. Meaningful engagement is not just passing out business cards or catalogs, but demonstrating products or services to a potential customer, engaging in extended business oriented conversation, or being requested to follow up post show. Exhibit efficiency is one of the most important qualities that you can bring to a trade show, even past the value of an expensive booth, and a flashy marquee. Exhibit efficiency should be one of your primary goals in any trade show planning and comprise adequate and well-trained staff to man your booth, run demos, and provide each customer with quality individualized attention. One method of increasing your exhibit efficiency, and capturing orders on the spot rather than during follow-up is to bring your POS with you.
Show Time Is Work Time
The worst possible question that you could ask right now is, “What POS?”
Bringing a tablet-based point-of-sale system for your show could be the key to exhibit efficiency, and nailing down enough sales on the trade show floor to clear your attending costs. This is not to say that you need to run out and figure out a way to uproot your cash wrap from your retail location or hall a desktop and barcode scanner all the way to Las Vegas. A simple, user-friendly, and real time tablet–based POS will allow you and your staff to take and process orders in real time instead of the complicated and inefficient system of using triplicate sales books, and credit card impression machines. A tablet system can generate orders to be pulled at your warehouse and shipped even before the lights go out at the venue. The equipment needed can be obtained at just about any office supply store, or through eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, or traditional cash wrap vendors.
The equipment required is simple and based around either an iPad or an Android tablet the addition of a credit card reader that is attached to the tablet’s headphone jack. You will also need a barcode printer in order to barcode all of your merchandise, and a barcode scanner so that your customers may scan their desired products into in order using the tablet. Your customers will be able to build, complete, and pay for an order right there at the show no follow-up required. Depending on the rules of the individual show you may or may not be able to also accept cash.
Trade Show Growth Expected
Metro Exhibits forecasts growth in attendance and in exhibition spaces on offer across a wide spectrum of shows and audiences. While the 2008 recession effectively squashed travel budgets, the rebound that began the 2011 show season has continued to trend upward, while admittedly stronger in some sectors than in others. However, across all sectors, exhibitors found enough value in trade shows and the wider exposure to buyers who in some cases have traveled 400 or more miles in order to attend, according to Trade Show News Network. While exhibiting at a show is one of the more expensive ways to build brand awareness is also a way to reach customers who might not otherwise see you, or be aware of you through any of your traditional advertising channels. According to Exhibitor Online, 45 percent of the attendees at a given show do not plan to attend another industry related show that year. Missing their presence through inefficient exhibit efficiency can be as bad an idea as not exhibiting at all.