We've just wrapped up a month entirely dedicated to market and trade shows over inside The Wholesale Collective Facebook community and boy, were there some amazing tips, tricks and insights that were shared! We talked about how participating in a market (or a trade show) can be beneficial to your business, what you can expect, who you might meet and everything in between. Today, I’m sharing 3 of my favorite takeaways from Market month to answer some of the most common questions that arise when a business is thinking of participating. Want the whole scoop-20+ days worth of tips?! Come join us inside the free Facebook community here
What exactly is market?
Market refers to both a specific place or time of year that makers + manufacturers sell their products to retail buyers and stores. In terms of place, this may be a specific event such as Atlanta Gift Show, Dallas Market, The National Stationery Show, ASD or Magic in Las Vegas. These shows attract buyers and wholesale manufacturers of all sizes. In some cases, the terms “market” and “trade show” are used interchangeably. This is because both require specific credentials to shop these shows, as they are geared toward the industry only. (aka-to the trade) Everyday Joe’s don’t have the option to shop these shows because the day to day consumer isn’t looking to place larger, bulk orders. These shows are specifically tailored to retail buyers and stores unique sets of needs.
When you hear it used in reference to the time of year, this is the time period when wholesale manufacturers and makers release new lines. Sometimes you’ll hear buyers say something along the lines of “I’ll be at market” They may be visiting a specific show or visiting multiple showrooms. The accessories company I worked with participated in market 5 times a year. So during those designated months, our showroom was filled with buyers and my days were filled with meetings. I’d also travel to meet with buyers who couldn't make it to NY.
Who goes to market?
There are so many different kinds of businesses + people to meet at market! Naturally, we automatically think about two groups-buyers and exhibitors. Buyers go to ultimately purchase goods for their stores or retail chains and Exhibitors go to connect with stores + sell their products. These are not the only people you’ll encounter at market though! You’ll probably also meet sales reps, manufacturers
When should you start preparing for market?
The short answer: as soon as you’re thinking it’s something you want to participate in. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to start cranking out new designs and develop your show marketing. If you’ve got a market or trade show on your radar I always recommend walking the trade show before you sign on the dotted line to exhibit. Here’s why:
Trade shows are a BIG investment and a big factor in your success is where your booth is located. A bad location can mean bad foot traffic which makes your job that much harder. Getting a feel for the show by walking the aisles will help you learn about the other businesses that exhibit there and determine if it makes sense for your business to be there too. Ask yourself, are the other exhibitors that are there reaching a similar customer? Totally unrelated?)
These shows can be BIG and knowing ahead of time where you want your booth to be located will save you a lot of headaches. While trade shows and Market centers have dedicated staff that can help you decide on the location, ultimately they are not the expert in your business. You might say or describe something that the interpret differently which means you could be on two totally different pages. Hedge your risk by educating yourself as much as possible before committing to participate.
Interested in learning more about markets? (and sneaking a peek behind the scenes from other exhibitors?) Join me and my wholesale collective co-founders Natalie Spencer and Nicole Swartz inside the free Facebook community to catch up on our month of market content!