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How to... Shop the Shows HOW TO Top buying advice from Jenny Spivey, Retail Development Consultant

Getting the most out of trade shows takes planning, dedication and hard work. In these days of fierce competition on the High Street it’s vital to get to as many as possible and although you might have been buying at shows for years it’s worth refreshing your approach by learning from those in the know. Expert retailer, Jenny Spivey shared her top tips at Autumn Fair in a seminar entitled, Buyer’s Guide to Exhibitions: Making the most of your valuable time. Here’s what she had to say.

“When it comes to trade shows you never feel you can take time out but you have to go”, according to Jenny, who said regular attendance is the only way to understand trends, see new product, take advantage of show offers and network. In just two days it’s possible to see

fresh product that would take weeks to source by staying away. She recommends making key shows a regular feature of your calendar, taking various members of the team and attending seminars to soak up business advice from industry leaders. Planning should be done in plenty of

time – you should even consider booking hotels and travel almost a year ahead to take advantage of the best deals. On the day set off early, wear sensible clothes, don’t forget to eat properly and drink plenty of water.

At the Show

•Plan where you are going to shop •Perimeter aisles often trial show offers •Negotiate exclusivity

•Avoid buying a mish mash – stick to your plan

•Look for display ideas that be can recreated back at the shop

•Consider fragrance and colour •Networking is vital •Take home show catalogue

‘proper preparation prevents poor performance’

Seminars and Presentations

Split with a colleague to cover all you can. Take details of speakers if you want to follow them up and share what you have learned with staff when you get back to business.

Buying at the show

Consider buying at the show. Exhibitors often offer deals and may have clearance offers. You must be prepared to act quickly so make sure you are absolutely sure of your purchase.

Show Do’s

 Prepare in advance  Take plenty of business cards  Wear comfy clothes and shoes  Visit new suppliers  Allocate time after show to reassess

 Keep an open mind  Relax in the evening

After the Show Show Awards

Look for awards which demonstrate best product, newness, innovation. The Gift of the Year Awards are very important.

18 Giftware & Home Review November / December 2014

Set a day aside in advance to go through what you saw and then follow up. Split all the cards you collected into; firm favourites, key lines, must haves and seasonal. Anything left, discard. Review value of shop window – stand back and view from outside the shop.

Show Don’ts

 Turn up without a plan  Spend time with regular suppliers  Lose focus  Overspend the budget  Be afraid to trial new ideas  Waste time  Leave as the show closes

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