You’ve registered and booked your hotel for the upcoming OFFPRICE Show. All you need to do is make your flight, right? Not quite! Many retailers forget the most crucial part of making the most of their time on the show floor: the pre-show planning. If you want to maximize your buying experience at the OFFPRICE Show, February 10-13 in Las Vegas, add these items to your checklist…
Browse the Exhibitor List and Floorplan
Did you know OFFPRICE has a complete exhibitor list online? You can search the list by name, category, and even by new exhibitors. After viewing an exhibitor’s profile, you can view the company website, take note of their booth number or contact information.
Having a handful of booths that are must-see on your list is great for your game plan. Once you have your top exhibitors lined up, check out the online floorplan so you can decide how you’d like to shop the show.
“Without a plan, it is super easy to get side-tracked and end up having had a fun yet unproductive trip,” says Allie Olson, Founder of Retail Prowess. “You’re taking time from your shop(s) to be there and should have some clear goals in attending that will bring a lift to your business.”
Pro Tip: View the floorplan and decide which point you want to take a break and refuel. The show is very large and hunger or exhaustion will negatively impact your buying decisions. Complimentary drinks and snacks will be available throughout the day in the Networking Hub.
Book Appointments Before You Arrive
After browsing the exhibitor list, feel free to reach out to companies by email or phone and let them know you’re attending the OFFPRICE Show. “Schedule appointments with your must-see exhibitors and give yourself plenty of time to discover new suppliers,” says Meaghan Brophy, Managing Editor of Independent Retailer.
If you’re a seasoned OFFPRICE buyer, it’s important for you to nurture your existing relationships with vendors, but also reserve enough time to make new connections and uncover new products or trends. Your loyal customers want merchandise that is consistent with your brand, but also fresh! If you keep purchasing the “same-old, same-old,” your shoppers will get bored.
Pro Tip: Buyers who book appointments on the last two days of the show have a greater chance of negotiating even steeper discounts with vendors. As the show draws to a close, exhibitors are more willing to make a deal to increase their own show profits.
Download the Free App
In the days before you head to the OFFPRICE Show, download our free mobile app from the Play Store or App Store. It’s a great tool for buyers of all experiences. You can:
- Save photos of merchandise you’d like to come back to
- Mark which booths you’ve already visited or are your favorites
- Store vendor contact information, and so much more!
“If you're at the show and see a new vendor you’d like to meet, but they're busy, give them your business card and set up an appointment through our mobile app,” says Katy Albrecht, Publishing Editor of Off-Price Retailing Magazine. “The app will automatically link you right to their email!”
Pro Tip: Look for the app station located at the show information desk. You can use a tablet to browse the app or walk you through downloading.
Do Some Calculations
Buying doesn’t have to be a guessing game. If you know how much you have to spend and where you need to put your dollars, the healthier your product assortment will be.
“Know your math!” says Olson. “In budgeting how much you have open to buy in each category, you can then plan on what booths you know you are going to spend at. Visit them early so you can spend time finding new vendors to mix back in to fill gaps and complete collections.”
Pro Tip: Not every vendor is going to suit your buying needs. Early on, ask vendors if they have a minimum requirement for orders so you don’t waste time or fall in love with a product you can’t have.
Reach Out to Your Customers
Now is the perfect time to start asking your customers what kinds of products they’d like to see in your store this spring and summer. Try creating a poll on your Twitter account during the show and let shoppers vote for a category they’d like to see you carry. Including your customers in the process will help you generate a larger ROI. Or, ask your staff to keep notes on products your shoppers are asking for in-store.
“Buyers can use social media to post product images they’re thinking of purchasing and get immediate feedback from customers,” says Albrecht. “More shoppers than ever before are keeping close tabs on their favorite retailers’ social media accounts and buyers should put their captive audiences to good use.”
Pro Tip: Screenshot photos of merchandise you see online you’d like to bring to your store. Vendors do not always have a sample of every product they have, but if can produce a photo, they may be able to help you find something similar.
Not registered for OFFPRICE Show yet? Skip the long lines and pre-register here.