If you’re new to the off-price world, or wholesale buying in general, welcome! Especially for your first order-writing trade show, the purchasing process can seem a little intimidating. Have no fear, because we’ve broken down what you’ll need to know before arriving, and what to expect when making your first purchase!
What to Bring
Before you even board your plane or hop in your car, double check that you have essential items:
- Credit card and well established credit references (if applicable)
You should be fully prepared to make payment arrangements upon writing an order at the show.
- Federal Tax ID number and shipping carrier account # (if applicable)
These will be needed in order for goods to be shipped in a timely fashion.
- Business cards
It is very important to exchange contact information with every vendor you work with.
- Pens and note taking materials
This will be key for keeping yourself organized and monitoring your budget. Pro tip: stop by the show info desk on-site for pens and the show guide, which you can take notes in.
- A mobile device
You will want to download the free OFFPRICE Show app so you can easily save contact details and your favorite booth numbers. Coming soon to Google Play and the App Store!
It’s easy to get distracted or overwhelmed when attending your first market, especially if you don’t go in with a game plan. First thing’s first, take a look at the OFFPRICE floor plan and exhibitor profiles. You can search exhibitors by category and view their websites. Also visit OFFPRICE365 to view products and get an idea of what types of goods will be showcased.
Begin compiling a list of exhibitors you are interested in working with. Try to map out a schedule for the show a few weeks in advance. Whenever possible, schedule an appointment with the exhibitors you plan to work with. Without an appointment, you risk the possibility that exhibitors may be too busy to devote the full attention you deserve. Keep in mind, appointments are typically scheduled in 30-60-minute windows.
Don’t be shy! Even if you’ve never done business with a company before, you can reach out to them through their OFFPRICE profile or direct website. They’ll be more than happy to hear from you and set up an appointment for the show.
Writing Your First Orders
When working with an exhibitor, you should communicate your specific business needs so the seller can identify the goods best suited for your customers. Early on in your interaction with a seller, you’ll want to ask “are there any minimum order requirements?” There may be a minimum total or units or total dollar amount required to open an order. There may also be pre-pack restrictions for individual SKUS.
Try not to rush through the showing process, which is why creating a buying schedule is key. The OFFPRICE show is truly a treasure hunt and you could easily miss out on really great products and prices by not allowing the vendor to thoroughly show you through the booth.
Sellers want you to touch and even try on the goods as much as you want, which is why OFFPRICE exhibitors bring their samples. Ask questions such as “does this come in other colors, other fabrications, or other bodies/silhouettes?” It’s okay to set aside items you are interested and then narrow down your selection at the end.
Once you’re ready to write, be sure to tie up all loose ends. Know where the goods are shipping from and ask “when will my order ship, and via which carrier?” Make sure you have provided the adequate billing materials including you Federal Tax ID number. You may want to ask “when will my card be charged?” or “when will I receive the invoice?” Exchange business cards and know who the appropriate contact will be if there are any issues with the order.
Don’t Feel Pressured to Purchase Immediately
If you’re on the fence about something, take your notes with you and finalize the order once you’ve had time to review your business strategy. For instance, you may want more time to study your selections, compare products or manage your budget. If so, simply inform the vendor that you would like to take down the order as notes and that you will drop off the finalized order before the end of the show. Make sure the notes are filled out in detail, and if okay with the exhibitor, you may even take pictures to use for your reference.
Please note, due to the nature of the OFFPRICE Show, when taking notes there are no guarantees that the merchandise will still be available when you return. With that being said, vendors are typically more willing to make a deal on the last day of the show.
When creating your schedule, be sure to carve out time for the following activities: Lunch and snack breaks; networking and special events; and of course, browsing time! We recommend scheduling your browsing time at the beginning of your first day. Allowing yourself time to browse the show is important because it enables you to feel out the floor plan and know where you’re headed for appointments. Furthermore, you’ll be able to scope out potential vendors that you can circle back to once you’re through with your appointments.
Now that you’re ready to write your first order, register online for the next OFFPRICE Show, February 3-6, 2020, at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas. Registration for the OFFPRICE Market Show, May 5-6, 2020, at Penn Plaza in New York City, will open in the coming weeks. Start buying merchandise today on OFFPRICE365. For questions, reach out to Audrey Taylor, Buyer Relations Manager, at 262-754-6921 or email her.