The Gift Show – Part 2

Posted on: August 28th, 2008 by admin No Comments

The NY Gift Show was great – it is always great. Why? The trade show, any trade show, is an opportunity for buyers and sellers to get together for a fixed period of time and share information. All businesses rely on the information received from the marketplace. The comments from buyers about designs, shapes, or prices are so valuable.  I welcome comments, both positive and negative as it is the only way for me to know what is working or not in the line.  Unfortunately, most do not like to pass along a negative comment. I have come to learn that if one person makes a comment, most likely 6 others felt the same but just kept quiet. It is also always interesting to get feedback from neighboring vendors. I love the interchange.

Some buyers complain that they don’t see much new. However, it is difficult for a vendor to constantly bring in new designs and have the buyers pass over the new for the tried and true.  Over the years, I have introduced a new collection and watch the buyers order only the returning designs.  Also confusing, are the buyers who do not reorder from a vendor when the product sells through.  They claim they never want to buy the same thing twice so that their store is always new.  But – why not continue with a collection if it sells? Don’t they have new customers all the time?  Or, buyers will say they don’t want to bring in anything new since business is down.  Well, maybe if they offered something new and fresh it would help sales. Retailing is a challenging juggle – what works for one retailer doesn’t work for another. I can only offer the best that I can – quality product and quality service.

It is interesting watching the buyers walk the show. Some walk very slowly, carefully evaluating each booth to find that perfect item for their store. Others walk quickly and miss so much. They look to one side and miss what is on the other side. Or they are on the phone. Or they are talking to their friend and miss seeing what is on offer.  Others come in quickly and ask if I have a website, not wanting to take 5 minutes to look at the product and learn about it. Why come to the show if they don’t want to look at product?!  The personal shoppers are too obvious and a bother to most vendors. We can never figure out why the show management continues to let them in.

Many vendors at this recent show were disappointed with the turnout and orders written.  I have had some very low shows and some very big shows.  However, even the show with the lowest volume has brought something positive for the future – a new lead, a new product idea.  As with anything, there are ups and downs.  When a show is slow, it is a time for the vendor to determine what went wrong. Pricing, minimums, customer service, product mix, competition – are all part of the package.

So, now is the frantic time stay on top of all the potential new business. Keep a careful eye on the inventory levels to ensure plenty of stock is on hand for those last minute November orders. And, most importantly, get in touch with all those customers who didn’t write orders at the show and get some more business!

And, of course, get the new designs ready for January!

Happy Labor Day!


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