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Navigating The Show Season

Embrace the Excitement of Tradeshows!



It's that time of year again, and I can't help but feel the buzz of anticipation in the air. After all, another show season is upon us, presenting endless opportunities and new beginnings. Let's set aside any lingering uncertainties and focus on the positive journey that lies ahead. 


Over the past few years, our industry has faced its fair share of challenges. We've experienced cancellations, cautious steps back into the showrooms, and inventory disruptions due to supply chain issues. But let's not dwell on the past, because now is the time to rekindle our enthusiasm and reignite the spirit of innovation that drives our industry forward. 


As National Sales Director of D.M. Merchandising and President of the Gift Sales Manager Association, I've had the privilege of engaging with vendors of all shapes and sizes. From established industry giants to small-scale, passionate entrepreneurs, each one has a unique story to tell. Some vendors have a few exciting new releases for the summer of 2023, while other vendors such as DM, are gearing up for their most significant product launch ever. The variety is incredible and will help fuel the vibrant atmosphere of the show season. 


Below are three tips to assure a productive buying trip this show season: 


  1. Set Clear Goals and Plan Ahead:  

Before attending the tradeshow, take some time to define your objectives and what you hope to achieve. Whether it's discovering new products, finding unique vendors, or expanding your network, having clear goals will help you stay focused and make the most of your time. Additionally, plan your schedule in advance, including which showrooms and booths you want to visit, seminars or events you wish to attend, and meetings you need to schedule. This preparation will ensure a more organized and productive buying trip. 


  1. Research and Know Your Market:  

Familiarize yourself with the latest industry trends and consumer demands relevant to your business. This changes every cycle, and this knowledge will help you identify products and vendors that align with your target market. Researching exhibitors and their offerings in advance allows you to prioritize your visits, saving time and making your buying decisions more informed. Stay open-minded to discover new and exciting opportunities, but also stick to your niche and core offerings to maintain consistency. 


  1. Establish Relationships and Follow-up:  

Building relationships with vendors and industry peers is essential for long-term success. During the tradeshow, take the opportunity to connect with exhibitors, ask questions, and learn more about their products and company values. Paint a mental picture of your store, your location, and your customer base, so that they can help you curate programs that align with your store. The best salespeople will listen first with the intent to learn. They will then recommend a product mix that is unique to your specific needs. Exchange contact information and make notes. Following up after the show, whether through email or phone calls, is crucial to solidify connections and growth.  


By setting goals, conducting thorough research, and fostering relationships, you'll enhance your buying trip's productivity and maximize the opportunities available at the tradeshow. Remember, newness sells! As you explore the showrooms, keep your eye out for fresh, innovative products that align with your existing inventory. Planning is key, so schedule your time wisely and prioritize the vendors and reps who have been instrumental in your success thus far. Avoid distractions that may lead you astray from your objectives. Trust in the partners who have proven themselves to be dependable and reliable. 


In a world where consumer fatigue is prevalent, your role as a retailer becomes even more vital. Shoppers crave personal connections and meaningful experiences. This is the perfect opportunity to curate a selection of products that truly resonates with your customers. Be selective in your inventory choices, creating excitement in your stores, and provide exceptional customer service that leaves a lasting impression 


Finally, as you embark on this exciting journey, don't forget to pack a pair of comfortable shoes! Trust me, you'll be thankful for them!  


If you find yourself in Dallas, Atlanta, or Las Vegas, I would be thrilled to meet you. Whether we're already acquainted, or this is our first encounter, I'm eager to connect and share what's new from DM Merchandising. Enjoy every moment of this show season, and let the excitement guide you toward new possibilities! 

Richard Freeman