Sourcing Products at Trade Shows

By Cody Grandadam

Sourcing Products at Trade Shows

Product sourcing is a critical part of a retail business, and trade shows are great places for retailers to meet with potential suppliers and distributors to find the merchandise they need. Below are several tips to help retailers make the most out of a show.

Plan ahead

At any trade show, there are many things to see and people to meet. If retailers go with a plan, it will be easier to focus and make sure they are getting exactly what they want. If they do not have a plan, a trade show can be overwhelming, and a lot of time can be spent running in circles. Create a schedule to allow time to see everything.

Do research

Retailers should know what they are looking for, so that when they get to a show they can make purchases. There are perks for planning to buy, as exhibitors often offer discounts or free shipping. Do not be afraid to ask. If a vendor has a pallet minimum, ask them if they would be willing to ship smaller quantities, or if they will offer a discount on a larger order. Companies are always looking for new customers and want to work with people.

Build relationships

In addition, building a relationship with vendors is very important. When suppliers have new products or a limited supply, they are most likely to call customers with whom they have the best relationship first.

Trade shows are a great time to meet face to face with vendors. Many customers only buy at trade shows because big companies often do not want to send samples to smaller companies, so they do not get to see new items. When they go to trade shows, merchants can see, feel and buy merchandise right there. In addition, building a relationship with vendors is very important. When suppliers have new products or a limited supply, they are most likely to call customers with whom they have the best relationship first.

Product trends

If retailers can get in on the front end of a product trend, it can be very lucrative. To do this, they should first buy in small amounts and then buy from domestic companies that carry stock. They can buy just one piece or one display, and can always re-order. With trends that is especially important, because by the time they get the shipment and put the product on the shelf, the trend could be over. It is also important to pay attention to profit margins. Every business and industry differs, but stores should look to make at least double wholesale. On certain items like electronics and televisions, profits will be lower, but retailers should aim to make as much as they can without selling items over perceived value.

Overall, attending a trade show can be a good investment of time and money for retailers. Do not be afraid to ask for what you want, and be sure to follow these tips to make the most out of your time.

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