Trade shows exist for nearly every business, including the pet industry. Should you attend trade shows geared toward the pet industry?
Many thousands of pet store owners, groomers, and other pet related professionals attend the pet specific trade shows each year. Some find shows close to home, while most must travel to one of the annual trade shows. Is there enough benefit to attending a trade show to warrant the time and expense? Should you attend a pet product trade show?
<read: 12 reasons to attend a trade show>
Shows offer many benefits to store owners
The most obvious benefit of attending a trade show is that of seeing new and existing products. Moreover, dozens of other reasons exist to entice you should attend trade shows geared toward your industry.
Reap the opportunities
If you have never attended a trade show, or if it’s been a few years, you might be surprised by the number of opportunities they offer. Not only will you see a full array of products to sell and merchandising elements, you will also find useful marketing strategies, helpful hints, and network with fellow shop owners.
A common question is whether trade shows are worth the cost.
When a small business owner factors in the cost of entry, travel and hotel costs, and the time away from the store, it may seem impossible to justify attending even one trade show a year.
When a small business owner factors in the cost of entry, travel and hotel costs, and the time away from the store, it may seem impossible to justify attending even one trade show a year. Balancing the costs of attending against using the funds for other business purposes, you might wonder consider skipping the show. However, take time to contemplate.
When you consider the amazing benefits of attending a trade show, however, those costs are quickly justified. Just as you need to invest in products to sell and merchandisers to display those products, attending a trade show is an investment in your business.
Attend a trade show?
Attending a trade show gives you a chance to step back and see your shop from a different perspective. You may find new products and business and sales help, of course. But you will probably return home with an entire list of new and revamped ideas to implement.
When you decide to attend the show, there are a few things you need to consider and plans to make. First, get the list of vendors that are planning to attend. This list will help you plan your strategy as you travel through the rows of vendors and multitude of products. You also want to leave time aside for those new products you were not planning on visiting. Some will undoubtedly catch your eye and cause you to stop for more information.
However, products to sell are not your only target.
Look for sales displays, marketing helps, and retail systems. The trade show is the optimal place to get a first-hand feel for each of these. Schedule time to see items demonstrated, ask questions, and get to know your representatives.
Most shows also have networking opportunities and they can offer a wealth of expertise. However, time is short at the shows; take every possible moment to gather information.
Now, look over the seminars offered.
They will target various areas of your industry, each with a distinct voice. Make notes on the ones you must attend, those you hope to attend, and those you might attend, if time allows. Don’t despair if you cannot be at a seminar that interests you. The information is usually available in other ways, too. Find industry experts at their booths and ask as many questions as you have.
What questions? Create a list of questions, leaving room for others that appear as you get answers to your first questions. Of course, you will add to this list. However, start now and continue to add. Ask your employees if they have questions, too.
At this point, you realize that a computer tablet or a pen and notebook are must haves for your trade show venture. You will collect plenty of literature and a multitude of business cards, too. These, with your notes, will help you remember the details that pre-formed literature cannot guarantee.
Your schedule is set. Time to get prepared.
You know your goals and have lists of questions regarding products you will investigate. Now you need to gather the basics.
Save money with show specials
Most vendors will offer show specials, discounts or other, during the show and sometimes for a few days after. Having extra money set aside for the show will save you a great deal of money, perhaps enough to pay for your travel and expenses. It’s important to have targets for this fund, products you are most interested in, but be flexible as often you might find a very special deal that you did not consider before. Be careful, though. It is easy to fall for the “30% off today only” and purchase items you really don’t need or want.
You are ready to attend trade shows.
Now, as you pack for the show, think of comfortable clothing, including shoes that will take you through the day without tiring. Many opt for a pair of shoes for each day, allowing one pair to rest when the other is in use. Why an entire paragraph on shoes? You will be walking, walking a lot. If your feet hurt, you will be distracted and might decide to see less of the show than you had planned. Or you might miss that great deal that you had hoped to find. Comfortable clothing and good shoes will help you keep going.
Should you attend trade shows?
Yes! Now, prepare for after the show. Before attending, begin to consider the best way to manage what you have gathered after you return home.