Canada's business magazine for traditional natural health retailers

4 minutes reading time (777 words)

The Value of Trade Shows

Are trade shows still a good investment of time and money?

by Judy Sharpe

I'll come clean right away and admit I am a little (a lot!) biased when discussing the value of trade shows. After all, I have spent the last 21 years of my career organizing and marketing some of the largest trade shows in Canada. But to be fair, the reason I have stayed with this industry is because of its value to both the exhibitor and the attendee. And, at the end of the day, we all want to feel like we are adding value... .

So let's take a hard look at some of the reasons why you might consider not attending a trade show:

'll come clean right away and admit I am a little (a lot!) biased when discussing the value of trade shows. After all, I have spent the last 21 years of my career organizing and marketing some of the largest trade shows in Canada. But to be fair, the reason I have stayed with this industry is because of its value to both the exhibitor and the attendee. And, at the end of the day, we all want to feel like we are adding value. So let's take a hard look at some of the reasons why you might consider not attending a trade show:

There is nothing new to see at a trade show.

It is possible that once an industry has matured, there may be very little to see from year to year. This cannot be said of the natural health products industry, which is showing steady growth with new companies and products continuing to emerge. If you were unable to attend Expo West in May, you missed out on the opportunity to meet with 30 companies who had never exhibited in that event before. Imagine, 30 new companies available to you in one location for sampling, cost comparisons and product information.

Sales people visit me every day.

In-store visits are a must for on-going sales relationships. However, the trade show lets you reconnect with people in the company you don't normally see (the president, the R & D person, etc.) Also, you'll meet new suppliers who may not know about your store. You need to ensure that all suppliers are aware of you so that you are informed about the latest products and services.

I don't need to go to the show to get the show specials.

It is true that show specials may begin 30 days before and extend 30 days after a show. However, more and more exhibitors understand that the retailer who takes the time to visit them at a show is looking for something extra. And often times, they get it – be it further discounts, prizes, entry in to draws, even cash!

I don't have time

As noted before, in-store visits from sales people are a must. But if you consider multiple interruptions to your already busy schedule, taking a day or two at a trade show to meet with several vendors saves you time in the long run. And there is a real advantage to having many vendors in one place when it comes to comparing products and pricing easily and efficiently.

I do my research on the internet

The internet has become an invaluable tool for sourcing products and suppliers. At one point in time, there was concern that the internet would replace trade shows all together. However, people have an inherent need to meet face-to-face and to form relationships with the people with whom they do business. In today's world, the trade show still plays an important role.


So, the answer to the question – are trade shows still a good investment of time and money? – is absolutely! The trade show is a reflection of the industry with all of the key players in attendance. There is no better place for education for your staff and to get that injection of energy that runs rampant at the show. If your staff is only exposed to the products in the store, they miss out on meeting industry icons; Sam Graci, Lorna Vanderhaeghe, Brad King to name a few, and in really feeling a part of a great industry.


We hope you'll join us at our upcoming event, Expo East, being held in October at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Immerse yourself in the industry, build relationships and feed your passion for natural health and organic products. For complete details, please visit www.chfa.ca •

Judy Sharpe is director of trade shows and conferences for the Canadian Health Food Association. Send your comments on this article to jsharpe@chfa.ca

 

CNHR News Podcast

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News, Views and Happenings in the world of Canadian Natural Health.

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