Common Trade Show Buyer Mistakes

A new article has been posted on the TAM Retail blog by Grisel de la Torre:

Here at TAM Retail we decided to take a closer look into mistakes buyers make at Trade Shows. I am sure that there are unifying factors that influence your buying decisions, but can those factors be hindering you from making smart buying decisions? Here is a closer look at a few common trade show buyer mistakes and some of the ways you can circumvent them from happening to you!

1. Overbuying

  • Plan your goals in advance by determining your Open to Buy (OTB) dollars & save some of your money for unexpected purchases. OTB will allow you to manage your inventory, plan your next purchases and budget effectively for the future. Please use TAM, to create your Open to Buy Plan. Preview, print and review the OTB Analysis report before you go to the tradeshow.
  • Most buyers overbuy due to minimum orders set in place by the vendor. This might not be ideal for your store. Bring the ShowEasy laptop and use On Screen Ordering to know whether this is doable or not. If it isn’t, do not hesitate to ask the vendor to alter their terms.
  • Identify your must-have products versus your wish list products. It’s very important to understand who your customers are. So please, do some market research to help you identify what to buy and who to buy for. By understanding this, it will be very clear what should be on your must-have list to buy.

2. Quick Decisions

  • Become familiar with the show exhibitors in advance by reviewing show maps, booth details & other logistical factors. If you don’t do this, then you are losing time. Losing time is losing money. Remember why you are there!
  • Schedule appointments with must see vendors. This will help you plan your day and will allow you to talk to the salesperson about helping you choose products that speak to your customer base.
  • Dress comfortably and wear walking shoes to navigate the show quickly. Many of us will disregard this piece of advice, but just remember how much farther a lady can walk in walking shoes than in heels.

3. Agreeing to Vendor Terms

  • Vendor terms can be adjusted and are definitely negotiable. Discuss the following with the salesperson to meet your store needs: payment due date, minimum order amount and the cost of shipping. These can help you reduce costs and help you manage your OTB dollars better.
  • Vendors create terms to their benefits. Bring your ShowEasy laptop; create purchase on the spot that identify your store terms.
  • Usually there are show specials when ordering, so take your ShowEasy laptop and place your orders at the show. If you don’t have the ShowEasy laptop, that’s ok. You will just have to do double entry when you arrive back at your store.

4. Skipping show seminars, educational events and other learning opportunities

  • Trade Shows are not about buying anymore. They are about learning expert insight to a variety of categories for your business.
  • Giveaway plenty of business cards – networking is a huge part of trade shows. Connect with likeminded retailers and vendors. You never know what tips and tricks you can learn from others.

5. Not evaluating your show experience once you return

  • Your ultimate goal should be maximizing your show experience in order to set your store image apart from others. If you sell the story of your store, the sales will follow. Ask yourself what your specific goal is? Did you accomplish it? Do the products you sell stand above the rest?
  • What mistakes were made & what would you have done differently? Did you let the vendor drive the conversation? Could you have been a bit firmer in regards to your store policy and terms?
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