Why bother to go to a trade show?

With three months to go to Giving & Living 2012, I have been thinking about why people choose to go to trade shows? This might be a question you ask yourself when weighing up the time and cost of travel involved.

It is certainly a question asked by show organisers, particularly in light of people’s increasing ability to source products on line and even view them in action on You Tube.

Yet, for you and us, when it comes down to it there is nothing quite as good as seeing something first hand and having the ability to really check out the quality and workmanship. There are often special offers and show discounts to take advantage of, alongside the chance to talk to current suppliers face to face.

In the summer we received almost 400 responses to a survey from people like yourself. They confirmed some of what we suspected, that the most important reason for attending a trade show is to find new suppliers (99%) and physically checking out products (96%). Other important reasons are to spot new trends (87%) and gain industry knowledge (81%).

However there were a few surprises, reasons we had not thought of or did not expect in any numbers. Examples would be, exhibitor stands offering ideas of how to display products that can then be used by retailers, and having time away from the shop or office to focus purely on purchasing and new product selection. Mentioned specifically was “thinking time” and that, “It is always good to see like minded people”.

As well as the “boost of enthusiasm and inspiration” to be gained from a show a number of people referred to attendance as a day off (presumably from usual activities!) and being able to, “Just enjoy a jolly good day out!”. One person went so far as to say “we also treat it as a mini-holiday”!

Finally there was this contribution,

“The staff I bring with me get an idea of the importance of minimum orders, cost price and shelf life etc, of products. It works for me almost as a training opportunity.”

Perhaps this might give you food for thought when you are next weighing up whether to attend a show, or who should go? The extra value of the show as a training opportunity…. now that is something that we hadn’t thought of….! 🙂

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