5 Tips to Help You Maximize Trade Shows

Trade show season is in full swing, which means retailers have a lot to accomplish with often very little time to do so. Whether you are attending a 2, 3 or 4 day show, the below tips can help you maximize your trade show experience.

Tip 1: Attend the Show with a Plan of Attack

In order to do this effectively, you should evaluate your current sales numbers as well as last years numbers. This will help you make more educated, better informed buying decisions. Additionally, identify if you have a void in your current inventory assortment, making sure you focus not just on product categories that currently exist but also categories that may be right to introduce for the first time.

Tip 2: Schedule Appointments with Top Vendors

You’re busy. Vendors are busy. The entire show is (hopefully) busy and vibrant, eliminating the chance of getting 110% attention by simply walking into your favorite booth. If you anticipate one of your top vendors to have full crowd within their show space, make sure you plan time with them prior to arriving at the show. A good rep will ask you in advance to schedule an appointment, but some reps prefer you just walk in. The catch? It’s up to you what you prefer… you’re the one spending money with them!

Tip 3: Work Deals With Your Vendors

Speaking of money, you want to maximize what you can get for every dollar you spend. Often, vendors offer show specials. Take advantage of these! And don’t be scared to ask for more or some variations to whatever they may be able to give you… it can’t hurt to ask, as the saying goes.

Tip 4: Visit Booths You Never Have Before

One of the amazing things about trade shows is that you get introduced to products and vendors you never would otherwise if you never left your store. The ASD Show in Las Vegas is a great example of this, offering over 2,800K vendors of general consumer merchandise to their retail attendees. While it’s truly impossible to visit all 2,800K in one or two days (ASD is a 4 day show) it is possible to visit new ones you never have before. Make it a priority to do just that.

Tip 5: Dress Comfortable & Hydrate! 

Here’s the reality of trade shows… while they may be in Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York or other fun cities, they aren’t a playground. In other words, attending trade shows are a lot of work. There is a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time, and the best way to maximize this is by dressing comfortably, staying hydrated, packing healthy snacks and carrying a bag that allows you to easily hold all the papers, giveaways, samples and more that you will no doubt collect while at the show.

Finally, have fun. It’s great to get out of your store and into new environments with other retailers. Embrace networking opportunities, learning opportunities and the chance to get rejuvenated before returning to your store again.

Photo Details: Finger Puppets exhibited their handmade puppets, made in Peru, at the August 2013 ASD Show. To check out all the vendors among the vast variety of exhibitors at ASD, visit


  • Rodolfo
    February 17, 2014

    Nice blog Nicole. I heard a story the other day about a company offering an incredible $20 deal at a trade show – they got to speak to 93 customers, and managed to upsell a $1500/month service to 35% of them.

    If I may suggest an addition to this blog, I would recommend “Tip 6: Offer Something Irresistible anc Affordable to Boost your Profits”!

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