When buyers walk a trade show many of them come ready to buy. When you make the process of buying from you exciting and easy it will be that much easier to get an order! One common trade show tactic is to offer a show special. While it’s not necessary, most buyers know that will be rewarded if they commit to an order in person while at the show. This sign of appreciation can go a long way (many buyers will outright ask if you’re offering something) It’s a nice way to break the ice, show a little love and give a good reason for a buyer to place an order while they’re in your booth (which is soooo much easier than trying to pin them down post show.) Today, I’m talking about the four most common trade show specials so you can decide which would work best for your business!

trade show special

Gift with purchase

The one thing I love about tangible GWP’s (aka gift with purchase) is that they double as walking advertisements for your booth/brand. People see others using your special gift and want one too, meaning they may purposely seek you out to write an order. Tote bags are pretty popular but if you go this route look for options that are a little more luxe. Yes, it will cost you more upfront, but we’ve all received a free tote or two in the past that are so thin and unimpressive they almost immediately end up in a donation pile or trash can.

Reduced opening order minimum

If your usual opening order minimum is $200 maybe you drop it to $150 or even $100 for the trade show. While buyers love the fact that they have more flexibility with their dollars this type of incentive isn’t as in your face as a gift with purchase. Consider adding something to your mix along the lines of a sticker or button that people may actually want to wear to help turn your buyers into walking advertisements for your booth (the more creative + fun  the better!)

No opening order minimum

While offering a show special for an opening order with no dollar minimum can be a bit scary, chances are, even when you offer, the orders you receive will be pretty close to your normal minimum anyway. It’s important to be mindful that, while there is no dollar minimum for your order you still have minimums by style. Otherwise, you could potentially end up with small orders with lots of individual skus.

Free shipping

This is by far my least favorite option because it can cost you a LOT of money! Shipping charges add up fast and heavier skus (like notepads and mugs) will cost you much more than a box filled with notecards. If you’re planning to go this route grab a postal scale and play with some mock orders to ensure it makes sense for your business and bottom line. If you really want to offer free shipping consider creating a "VIP" status for customers that place a certain dollar amount with you, like anyone who places $500 or $1,000 also gets free shipping. You can combine this type of special with the reduced or no dollar minimum opening order special (again, run the numbers to make sure this would work!)

The Best Show Specials Are:

Something your buyers actually WANT

You don’t have to break the bank here. Get creative and have some fun with your show special! Whether it’s a fun GWP or $ savings make sure your special is something that would get a potential buyer excited!

Something that adds value to the experience of working with you  

Whether it’s saving their business money or a cool (and sturdy)  new tote bag they’ll use every Saturday at the farmer's market you want your show incentive to leave a lasting impression, not end up being an afterthought or destined for the hotel trash can.  

Work with your pricing structure and budget

That $150 open order doesn’t really mean much if you spend $50 on a special gift. Decide on a budget and stick to it and give yourself enough time to source something awesome. Waiting until the last minute may mean additional rush fees which cut into profits even more.

Do you have a favorite GWP you've received in the past? Inspire others and leave what you've loved (or totally hated) in the comments below! 

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