By: Cheryl Cliffe
Visiting a trade show is time well spent for buyers and, if you are concerned about the cost incurred to visit your industry’s trade show, consider this: in the long run, it may cost you more to not attend!
There are many reasons that buyers should visit the trade shows that serve their industry – all of which make good business sense.
Network with existing and new suppliers
At a trade show you get to network with existing suppliers; you also have the opportunity to forge new relationships and meet suppliers with whom you may not have interacted in the past, or with whom you have lost touch. Being exposed to new products and suppliers will expand your buying options and, ultimately, your offering to customers.
The value of building relationships with suppliers cannot be overstated. One of the truest marketing maxims is that people do business with people they like and, just like you will go that extra mile for your favourite customers, strong relationships with your suppliers will serve you well, not least when special offers, limited editions and new opportunities become available outside of show times.
A trade show also provides the opportunity to actually see and touch the products that you are going to be buying. Photographs can be deceptive and, no matter how user-friendly a website is, nothing beats being able to examine your prospective purchases before you buy.
Exposure to new trends
Arguably, one of the most important benefits buyers get from visiting a trade show is the snapshot it provides of market trends, all under one roof. Where else can you see the hottest new products and trends in your sector in a couple of hours?
Meeting suppliers face-to-face also gives you the opportunity to negotiate a better deal and talk about how you can work together for mutual benefit. Many exhibitors offer show specials, which can make a trip to a trade show a profitable exercise in itself.
In the retail industry – especially in small retail outlets – it’s easy to be isolated within your own store; but visiting a trade store gives you a glimpse into the larger retail world that you are part of and you are likely to return to your store invigorated and inspired.