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6 Common Strategies for Retailer to Buy At A Trade Show

In case you are planning a trip to an expo, your local mart, or any other buying trade show I have six tips for you:

1 – Research and know the numbers of your company

Do not just think about how we did for this month, but look at smaller details like how much money you made on each sale.

If you can, please tell me your top five categories in gross sales and what the profit margin is for each one. Some companies use so-called “loss leaders” which sell a lot but are actually costing them money.

It’s not enough to look at one or two categories. You need to have a top-five, maybe seven.

To identify these candidates, start by looking at your bottom ten to fifteen.

trade show

2 – Analyses

One of the most common issues for small business owners is that they constantly over-buy and need to learn how to stop.

I know I am not the only one who loves to go shopping in New York or Chicago! But after you buy something new, it means that there is less space for other things. You can’t just keep putting more merch into your store.

If your sales have been dropping 5% year-over-year, then you should also be reducing inventory by the same amount.

3 – Make a List

If you want to have a successful trade show, make sure that your product is in high demand. This means going through and making a list of the most profitable products beforehand.

4 – Wide-Ranging

To maximize your retail sales, try new things and experiment with what is hot right now. There are always new things to learn, so stay on top of the latest developments in your industry. Be sure not to get stuck in a rut.

You are probably successful in these categories because they work for you. You don’t have to change anything about your business, just find new ways of fishing.

Even if you buy a car that doesn’t work, it’s easy to sell because there are so many people who want the same model. This has been my experience.

5 – Be Careful

With my first coffee shop, I was constantly tweaking the prices of drinks and snacks because it felt like people would buy more if they were cheaper. Turns out that you need to figure out what items are selling enough before making changes.

Everyone kept telling me that tea was the next big thing, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. We looked at our numbers and found that only 1% of all drinks we sold were teas.

We expanded our menu to include tea, but the customers just weren’t interested. We don’t really have a reputation for selling that kind of product.

Instead of testing out new flavors, we looked at what people actually bought and tested different drinks that were a proven success. In your case, it might be wise to stock up on the best-selling products you have or pass for now.

trade show

When you’re new to a market, it’s your job to take the arrows. When an item has made its way into lower categories then bring them in.

6 – Open-to-buy Strategy

The open-to-buy is a limiting factor in your ability to buy new inventory. If you don’t sell anything, then there’s no need for more products.

This will help you avoid buying too much for your store at the trade show.

You should also check out this article I wrote about the best way to get value from attending a conference.


There are plenty of tips out there on how to select merchandise, but these should help you spend less and make more.

The inventory that we carry is like milk: it goes bad quickly, so you don’t want to be carrying too much of anything.

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