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How to get the most out of trade show season

22 December 2022 | Published by Faire

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The next rush of trade shows is fast approaching, and brands around the world are preparing for events in 2023 and beyond. Whether winter or summer, trade show season can feel daunting, especially if you’re new to in-person events – that’s why we’ve put together a guide to help make your brand more successful at any trade show. 

Whether you’re attending virtual trade shows like Faire Winter Market or in-person events like TrendSet in Munich, Atlanta Market, Top Drawer London, Maison & Objet in Paris, NY NOW or ASD Market Week in Las Vegas, the following tips should help you make the most of trade show season. 

1. Prep your visual presence

Your website, catalogue and Faire shop should be ready to go by the start of trade show season. Start by adding any new products to your Faire shop that you want to be highlighted during trade shows. You can set up preorders – which buyers can place before a product is available with the understanding that it will be shipped later – through the Products tab in your Faire brand portal.

Curate collections for easy browsing

You can also create curated collections within your Faire shop to ease decision-making and increase sales. Simply head to the Collections tab in your brand portal and choose a theme such as bestsellers, new products, category-specific, audience-specific, seasonal or holiday. A standout collection on Faire should include:

  • a well-curated set of 10 to 12 products that you frequently have in stock
  • a compelling square image of the products together that looks different from their individual photos
  • a total price of under £300

Please note: collections auto-unpublish when a product goes out of stock. Be sure to keep an eye on collections and remove out-of-stock items to republish the collection. 

Up your product display game with photography and video

It’s a good time to improve your product images and add videos to your website and shop page. Ensure you have the right equipment, a room with natural light, a seamless white background, a flat surface, a tripod for your camera or phone to shoot various perspectives, and photo editing software. Check out our tips on mastering product photography for additional guidance. 

Similar lighting and background techniques should apply to videos. Consider ways to show how your products fit into customers’ lives such as a demo, tutorial or explainer video. Remember to cater to your target audience, keep it short but informative, include different product views that show dimensions, tell your story (or let customers tell your story), share your unique personality and include a call to action.

Booth presence 101

Of course, you’ll also need to plan an attractive trade show booth if you’re attending in-person events. First impressions are everything, so try to get a good location with plenty of foot traffic and design your booth to look approachable with friendly staff and room to move around or even a small meeting area with chairs. Locations near the entrance are usually best, but other high-traffic areas can be found near intersections, food vendors and major sponsors. 

Trade show organisers often offer early-bird registration, so try to plan ahead if you want the best pick of booth locations. Also, use colours that attract people, lighting that shows off your products, signage that explains your unique value proposition in three seconds or less and materials that match your aesthetic and brand identity. 

2. Set your promotions

Everyone loves a good discount, so if you’re able, set and promote discounts widely before and during trade shows. On Faire, brands that send marketing campaigns to their customers starting a month or more before a trade show tend to drive higher sales during shows. In fact, brands that sent emails two to three weeks ahead of last year’s Faire Winter Market drove over 30% more sales than those that sent emails only one week in advance. 

If you’re able, you can also entice potential buyers to your trade show booth with promotions, such as a free prize draw or raffle, and if you collect business cards, you can record contact information for everyone who enters. Just make certain the prize you offer is attractive to your target audience so potential buyers will be compelled to stop and have a look. Brands often give away one of their own products as a prize, but other popular options include consumer electronic devices, premium-event tickets, gift cards and swag bags. 

You can set up virtual promotions for online events as well. Faire’s discount-matching programme during Faire Markets allows you to maximise the discounts you offer new buyers. During our most recent market, retailers saved nearly £12 million through brand discounts and Faire-funded promotion matching. In addition, about one-third of brands at the 2022 Summer Market came from Faire’s growing European community, so if you’re looking to form international partnerships, it’s a great time to start attending these virtual events. 

3. Plan your marketing for before, during and after the show 

Once your shop and promotions are ready, you can prepare your marketing. First, plan your social media campaigns, including what you’re going to say, when and how often you’re going to post, and which platforms to focus on. Virtual trade shows lend themselves particularly well to Instagram and other social media platforms where you can link directly to the event. Faire often offers market-themed social templates for you to easily share across platforms. We put together some suggestions on how to leverage social media during the holidays that can also apply to trade show season if you need more guidance.

Next, prepare your email strategy. You’ll need to consider:

  • what to include in your messages
  • how you’re going to time the email series ahead of the event
  • which audiences you’re targeting and whether to customise emails for different groups
  • how you’re going to automate email distribution 

It’s easy to send marketing emails through Faire inviting customers to attend trade shows and to place orders before and during the event. 

It’s also wise to send another email after a trade show to convert prospects and connect with new customers. Check out our tips on creating an email campaign for more email marketing guidance. 

If you’re planning on attending in-person trade shows, be sure to download and print Faire Direct flyers and signage or create a digital QR code version of your Faire Direct link yourself, so buyers can easily shop commission-free with net terms via your Faire shop. 

4. Increase sales and capture more leads with your Faire Direct link 

There are many benefits to sharing your Faire Direct link when pitching to potential customers, as this link extends Faire’s benefits directly to existing retailers and new leads. With Faire Direct, you can grow sales and streamline your wholesale business. 

Retailers that shop your line through your Faire Direct link benefit from 60-day payment terms (subject to eligibility), easy online ordering and payment processing, free returns on first orders, plus a Faire-funded £100 credit and one year of free shipping if they’re new to Faire. Brands enjoy 0% commission on all orders placed through Faire Direct, no monthly fees and guaranteed payments. You’ll also appear at the top of search results for retailers who have ordered through your Faire Direct link. By sharing these benefits, you’re more likely to convert new leads or drive reorders from existing customers not on Faire.

Share your Faire Direct link in all online and in-person marketing efforts including flyers, social media posts, email campaigns and on your website. 

Read more on the help centre.

Write invoices while at the show

Providing accurate invoices is another crucial part of participating in a trade show. Faire’s new invoicing tool allows you to easily write orders and invoice all of your retailers on the trade show floor directly from your brand portal. Use this tool to offer differing delivery dates within a single order, apply trade show specials using the promotions feature, and lock in new-to-Faire retailers through Faire Direct.

Use marketing materials to capture new leads

We’ve created ready-to-print marketing display and handout flyers featuring a QR code version of your link that you can use to easily capture and convert leads as commission-free customers. These have been particularly useful for retailers who are too busy to stop and write an order with you at the show. To view QR codes and marketing flyers, head to your brand portal and click on the “in person” tab in the top navigation bar. 

5. Nurture customer relationships built at the show

There are different ways to nurture new customer relationships depending on whether you meet them in person at a trade show or if they place their first order during a virtual event. 

Build on in-person introductions

After an in-person trade show, remember to upload new prospects to your Faire customers tab as soon as the event is over, using a separate customer list. This serves as a paper trail of in-person relationships with retailers, and in the event a retailer doesn’t use your Faire Direct link properly, you can request that the commission charges be removed. 

Send targeted emails to everyone you met at the event with a warm message explaining how you appreciate the new connection, how they can order from your line and the benefits of ordering through Faire Direct. Just don’t wait too long to email new prospects, as memories fade quickly and you want to reach out while your products are still fresh in their mind. Two days after the end of the event is a safe bet. 

Follow up after a first order

For new customers who placed orders during a virtual trade show, follow up about two days after the event to personally thank them for their purchase. This friendly gesture and white-glove customer service can go a long way and encourage reorders. 

You can also request feedback, ask if they have any questions, provide product support, and politely ask if they can leave a positive review for your brand on Faire, on your website or on social media. If you are genuine in your approach and customise the email for different customers, you will come across as authentic and nurture the kind of relationships that bring in revenues for years to come. 

Faire Winter Market is happening 23–26 January 2023! Learn more about our virtual trade shows that bring together thousands of independent brands and retailers from around the world.

New to Faire? Sign up to shop, or apply to sell.

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