Trade shows are an excellent opportunity for brands to showcase their new items to retailers and consumers.  Retailers are always on the lookout for innovative new items their shoppers want. Trade shows provide an opportunity for retailers to shop natural organic brands in much the same way consumers shop their stores.

“You never get a second chance to disappoint a customer.” Exhibiting brands need to make a lasting impression on every retailer, blogger, customer, etc. They need to stand out against the competition and maximize every selling opportunity.

I’m always amazed by the number of exhibiting brands who run out of business cards and sales literature the first day. Several brands list “info” as their contact instead of a person or department ( Exhibitors needs to make it easy for interested retailers/bloggers to learn about and buy their products.

5 Top StrategiesBe prepared.Know your purpose and be prepared. This goes well beyond having plenty of samples to hand out, a sales team that is energetic and motivated, and an attractive booth. Why are you there?  Do you want to showcase new items or an existing product line? Ensure your booth messaging is clear and consistent. Use the experience to educate retailers and bloggers. More importantly, you are there to sell. Make it easy for retailers to buy from you. Make a lasting impact that encourages repeat purchases.

Know your core consumer.Retailers can’t possibly be experts in every category and on every item they sell. Savvy retailers rely heavily on brands to help them address shoppers needs and wants by having the right products on their shelves. This can be the greatest differentiator between you and your competition.

Be an expert in every category you sell products in.Natural organic brands traditionally have a close relationship with their core shoppers, compared to their larger counterparts. This is what sets them apart and gives them a significant competitive advantage. Brands need to know how their consumers shop the category and what motivates them to make a purchase. This includes going well beyond canned topline reports. Savvy brands need to provide category reviews with actionable insights and recommendations. This includes knowing how their core shoppers drive sales in complementary categories. For example: organic bread shoppers frequently purchase organic spreads, etc.

Be an expert on your competition.Knowing your competition helps you sell against them and differentiate your brand on retailer’s shelves. Retailers are not looking for another “me too” brand. They want strong brands willing to take a leadership role in the category — a brand that appeals to their shoppers.

Have a follow-up strategy.Have a strategy in place to capture retailer information, important conversations and notes for follow-up after the show. Thank people for coming to your booth. Not only is this courteous but you never know when a contact might be in a position to grow your brand.

Follow these important strategies to maximize your Expo experience!

Daniel Lohman, CPSA is the Organic and CPG Industry Strategic Advisor, certified at the highest level of category management proficiency: Certified Professional Strategic Advisor.