This is my second post on how to set up a tradeshow booth. If you missed the first blog post, you might be interested in tips on how to set-up a wholesale tradeshow booth. Wholesale tradeshows are strictly wholesale and there is no purchasing allowed on the tradeshow floor. It is for order writing only.
In this post, I will be walking you through the steps that Nunn Design does for prepping for the To Bead True Bead tradeshow in Tucson, Arizona. Because this is a show that many stores and jewelry designers come to shop, we choose to bring inventory to sell on the tradeshow floor.
Before I go into 12 more tips on setting up a tradeshow booth, I want to acknowledge that there will be a lot of steps prior to setting up. Here is a rough outline of the decisions you will need to make when deciding to do a tradeshow.
- Which show are you interested in attending?
- Once you have selected your desired tradeshow, create a budget of all the costs associated. Is this going to be financially possible for you? Or are there better marketing avenues that are more in your budget?
- If the answer is yes – this is financially possible, then continue on with the application and set-up process on the tradeshow website. Some items are time sensitive and cost more if you delay. Fill out the forms for items such as:
- Carpet/Tables/Trash Can (yes, some shows charge for the trash can!)
- Book your airline flight/hotel/rental car or shuttle
- Will you need a fire retardant certificate for any fabric in your booth? (Best to know, because it is a drag to find out from the fire marshal on the tradeshow floor!).
- Proof of insurance?
- Design your tradeshow booth
- Ship your tradeshow booth to the show/material handling fees
- Arrive at the show/register
- Set up your tradeshow booth
- Selling in your tradeshow booth/marketing supplies
- Breaking down and shipping home your tradeshow booth
- Tracking your success
12 More Tips for Setting Up a Tradeshow Booth.
1. Invest in pre-show marketing.
We start marketing our tradeshow season months in advance. This allows our customers time to book flights and hotels if they are interested in attending one of our shows. Here are some ways to pre-show market:
- If you have a newsletter, include the dates and shows that you will be attending.
- Add the dates to the side bar of your blog or on your homepage
- Send out a postcard to your customers announcing your show schedule. We order our postcards from Got Print and have a bulk mailing house do the mailing. We have run the numbers on the bulk mailing service verses doing it in house and the mailing service was far more affordable.
2. Other marketing materials
- Marketing postcards. People love to pick-up literature on companies that they find interesting. Bring the extra postcards from step 1 to a tradeshow and display them prominently close to the aisle. People are funny. If they have to ask for a card, chances are they won’t. But if they see it, they will pick one up. Make sure your graphics on the front of the postcard really capture your company’s brand essence, meaning the look and feel of your product line. This will help you stand out amongst other postcards they may have picked up.
- Business Cards. Two sources for printing business cards are Got Print and Moo. It is a must when doing a tradeshow. Carry your business cards at all times. You never know whom you will meet on a shuttle bus, waiting for a table at a restaurant or in the airport.
- Catalogue. Nunn Design has a beautiful catalogue (yes, I’m bragging) and it is a major selling point for our product line. I find that our customers still want a physical catalogue. We provide a lot of inspiration in our catalogue, so it makes flipping through it an experience, not just a way in which to order findings. Regardless, to have a sell sheet of some sort is important. Many buyers won’t make their decisions right there. They need time to see everything and might not order for months after a show.
3. Pre-Show Selling Prep
We are mostly selling individual parts and pieces at this show, not bulk packs. Prepping for a tradeshow is an all office effort here at Nunn Design. Here is our process:
A. The process starts with Cheryl. She is in charge of creating a packing slip for the warehouse to pull the inventory. She bases her numbers on sales from the previous year to give her an idea of what to bring and the quantity.
B. Heather then goes through Cheryl’s packing slip and creates a spreadsheet that will help us determine the sale prices for each of the items. We try to keep our sale prices to a limited amount of dollar amounts to speed up the checking out process (more on that to come).
C. The product listed on the packing slip is then pulled by the warehouse team. As the warehouse staff pulls the inventory, they mark the retail selling price on each of cello bags: .25/.50/1.00 etc.
D. After the warehouse team has pulled everything, it then comes back to Cheryl and I to organize. Leaving the product in the small product cello bags, we organize where everything will go within our antique type drawers and props (hence the importance of knowing the retail price that we had the warehouse write on the bags!)
E. After Cheryl and I are done organizing, Haylee then steps in and labels all of the bins with pricing and re-packs up all of the products based of where they are being displayed. For example Big Tray Bag 1 of 4. Within each large cello bag, the products are labeled Row 5 a, b, c, d etc. This allows Cheryl and I to arrive at a show, open up our boxes, place the bags 1-4 on the Big Tray and then start to fill it. No thinking, just setting up! What would be ideal is to be ship the antique trays already filled, but I’ll explain in Step 4 why that isn’t possible for us.
4. Select you shipping carrier.
Typically, to ship our booth set-up to a show, the weight is around 250lbs. But to ship our booth with product to sell, can range from 500-700lbs. Due to the shipping expense, it is worth researching various carriers to see which method of shipping would be least expensive. We have run the numbers and for Nunn Design, it is least expensive to ship UPS. The other options would be to place all of your show supplies onto a pallet and ship via a ground carrier. Since we are fairly rural, there aren’t a lot of ground carries coming our way, so shipping UPS is the least expensive option. Still, least expensive was still $800.00!
5. Pre-marked trays for customers shopping pleasure
Do you remember that spreadsheet that Heather created in Tip 3b? By organizing all of our price points to round up or down we are able to create trays like you see here. When a customer comes into the booth, they are able to place their items within the right price slot, making the check out process quicker.
6. Accepting payment & setting up a register
We process all of our credit card transactions with Square. Our ipad is set-up with a register like you see here. Cheryl and I love looking at the reports to get a clear idea of our sales per day and we can compare our sales from year to year. We set daily sales goals based off of this information
7. Have pre-marked cello bags
Prior to the show, Cheryl has created labels to apply onto cello bags. Many of our customers need the bags to be marked for reselling purposes. By having all of the bags pre-labeled, it speeds Cheryl’s process up.
8. Set-up displays of finished jewelry next to the product it took to create it.
Sorry if this seems obvious, but it makes for selling to be so much more fluid. If the customer is inspired, make it easy for them to purchase the items to create it before some other shiny thing distracts them.
9. Display in themes
For us at Nunn Design, we not only offer the findings, but also various techniques. I tend to display to tell the story of each technique. It is also easier for us to engage with a customer. “What type of jewelry do you make.” We then can show them samples to inspire them to create in their style and technique.
10. Create interest for all levels of consumers
Some people aren’t interested in anything too challenging, so our “bauble bar” is up front and displayed prominently. Everyone understands charms and charm bracelets! For that non-jewelry people, I let them lay out their bracelet and I assemble it on the spot!
11. Get creative with displaying
I really like how we managed to display our chain this year. As a result, we sold more chain than ever before!
12. Be ready to be on!
When I’m doing a tradeshow that is what I’m there to do! I’m there to inspire and nurture creativity. To do that, it is important to get lots of rest and eat well. Cheryl and I were wasted by the end of show and that was even with good rest!
And there have it. Another 12 tips! I hope you find some nugget in there for yourself!
Did we miss anything?
Did we leave anything important out? Do you have any tried and true steps or methods? Visit the blog post and please tell us in the comments.
How to Purchase Wholesale?
If you are interested in becoming one of the many designers who trust their jewelry to Nunn Design Findings, please join us by registering to become one of our wholesale customers!
Nunn Design primarily sells wholesale, but we do offer Retail DIY Kit supplies for certain projects. For all other findings, please visit our Where to Buy Page for a listing of online stores that sell Nunn Design Findings retail.
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