Trade shows died an ugly death this year and they won't be coming back...EVER.
Busy shop owners were already looking for a way to skip out. The money, the time...for what?
It just never really made sense to spend a week away from the shop, spend a ton of cash just to walk 25 miles searching for a needle in a haystack. Right?
How many of us found 5 new brands to carry at any one trade show? Almost no one!
So, when COVID hit and all of the shows were shut down, you didn't hear many protests coming from shop owners.
Until reality set in and buyers started realizing they needed to freshen up their offerings and they started scouring the internet for new brands.
Up pops a bunch of platforms to connect retailers with brands. But they suck, too!
They're basically Amazon with 60 day financing. They look great on the outside but 5 or 6 clicks in and...holy crap(!)...they just moved the needle in the haystack to the internet. BOOOOO!
AND, check this out, those sites charge the brands 15%-20% commission! Guess who really pays that in the end?
I want indie and I want it now! I want samples and I want them now!
So what is a retail buyer to do?
Here are a few ideas:
Reallocate your trade show budget
Direct the time and money you would have spent to attend a trade show to a new buying strategy. The point here is to not just wing it and scroll around the internet looking for products but to have a plan...and a budget...and then schedule some time each week to find new products. It’s important to get out of your shop during this time so you’re not distracted.
One of the positives of attending a trade show is the total focus for a few days. Try to recreate the focus for a few hours each week and for a bigger block during buying season.
Seek out the brands you already love on social media.
Surprisingly, most of the best brands interact with each other on social media. Find your favorites and then see who they’re following and connected with, you’ll probably find a few gems this way. Instagram is probably the best place to start.
Place a lot of small orders
The goal here is to get a good feel for a new brand’s products and their customer service. This can be a little bit of a hassle keeping track of all of the little orders but there is nothing better than getting a product in your hands to determine if it’s a fit for your store.
The MatchBoxx can help cut down the amount of time you spend finding new brands, of course.
This is why we started The MatchBoxx! Pick 5 brands and let us send you their best samples. $79. DONE!
Seriously, that's it.
If you love one of the brands in your MatchBoxx, we'll give you their contact info and you can connect directly with them. You pay no hidden commissions!
Later, if you want another injection of awesome, come on back to The MatchBoxx and check out our latest finds!
Trade shows aren't coming back, for reals!
So, now is the time to adjust your buying strategy. On the plus side you now have less financial strain and less time out of your store. But, on the minus side you could end up spending even more time scouring some of these big sites. However you end up doing it, you need to be intentional and have a buying plan that makes sense for your business.
Otherwise, you'll end up buying in a panic and rushing to just get SOMETHING on the shelves.
Stay focused! You've got this!