With the holidays fast approaching many of us in the toy industry turn our attention to finalizing our 2016 product line and marketing plans for Trade shows. First Trade Show for many are Toy Fairs and Gift Shows in the first quarter. Let’s face it, attending trade shows is an expensive but necessary part of showcasing and selling your product line. It’s an opportunity to get orders as well as garner publicity for your products. Booth design, product prototypes, packaging, pricing as well as promotional and selling materials all need to be finalized.

Aside from selling and obtaining orders, a show provides a valuable opportunity to gain feedback from your key buyers on their likes and dislikes about your product line. Listening to feedback from show attendees can inform product decisions going forward. This can make a huge difference not only in selling your products to the buyers but also in increasing consumer appeal at retail.

Four areas to make the most out of a show:
Smart Trade Show Planning Check List

1. Product, Packaging, and Price

Understanding where the product fits within the competitive landscape will help you refine product design, select the right type of packaging and price the product to be competitive in the marketplace. Buyers can provide valuable insight regarding their interest in purchasing your product and will often provide suggestions for your product design, product mix, packaging, merchandising, messaging and pricing.

Showing a high-quality prototype product and package at trade shows allows you to gain specific feedback from key buyers on their likes and dislikes before you invest in manufacturing and inventory. Listen carefully to changes to your product that buyers recommend – how you act on them will influence the likelihood that they will place an order. Be sure to take notes at your meetings so you can incorporate their suggestions to gain a sale.

To make a great presentation, develop packaging designed for the location in the store where it will be merchandised. There is a big difference in packaging designed to be racked or presented on-shelf. Designing the product and package with both the retailer and consumer in mind is key to getting your products on the shelf at retail and then selling through to the consumers.

 2. Booth

Create a professional look with signage and point of sale materials. Showcase your company’s brand with strong visuals to attract the attention of buyers walking the show. Take time to consider how you will display products to attract attendees and allow them to easily check them out. People love to interact with a product, picking it up to check out the quality and to see how it is designed and how it works.

3. Sales Materials

Design sales materials to promote your product line with clear images and succinct copy, pointing out the unique qualities of the product and its features and benefits. In addition to showcasing your product line with well-designed sales sheets, an order form should provide information needed by the buyer such as item number, wholesale price, case pack quantities and product dimensions. Don’t forget to update your website with the latest product information prior to the Trade Show, paying special attention to the retailer sections. Lastly, be sure to communicate any special promotional plans in your materials.

4. Promotion

Make the most out of your time at shows. In addition to scheduling appointments with buyers beforehand, send them a promotional mailing so they are on the lookout for your product, and reach out to the media and invite them to visit your booth. Consider a special Trade Show offer to encourage buyers to place their order at the show. Take advantage of opportunities to generate buzz with publicity and ads in trade publications that will be distributed at the show. Set up appointments to pitch the consumer press and product bloggers to gain publicity for your products.

With a little bit of planning, you will be ready to have a successful trade show!

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