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Top tips for a successful trade fair

The International Jewellery Fair is almost upon us and this year’s show is set to be the biggest yet. More than 260 exhibitors will be showcasing their products, and 30 per cent of them are new to the show for this year.
Faced with time constraints and an overwhelming sea of stands before you, it is vital you conduct prior research and devise a strategy to make the best use of your three days. Here, Jeweller presents its top tips to help you through the show:

On target
-    Assess who your target market will be at the fair. There is no better place to start than with your existing consumers. Try asking your established customer base what kind of things they’d like you to stock and within what price range.
-    If you want to add a new line to your existing product categories, establish which products are not performing well in the marketplace and change your stock according to what seems to be in demand and follow current trends.
-    Keep up to date with trends by reading fashion and jewellery blogs, reading Jeweller and other publications, following celebrity fashion and by simply observing the average consumer walking down the street. Consider how the jewellery you’re buying will complement these styles.
-    If you’re going to the fair to restock, do so on an informed basis. Monitor your stock control and this will prevent you from buying too little or too much.
-    Know your total inventory and classify your inventory according to brand. This will assist you in understanding your requirements and will help you differentiate between basic pieces and special, limited-editions or new pieces.

Online
-    Visit the JAA and Expertise Events’ website for important announcements leading up to the trade fair.
-    Pre-register on International Jewellery Fair and use “Match & Meet”, an online system that enables buyers to request an appointment with chosen exhibitors prior to the trade fair. Guaranteed time with an exhibitor will help you maximise the limited time you have on your hands.
-    Browse through the jewellery fair website to find travel events, buyer information, fair highlights and exhibitor lists. Equipped with the right information, buyers can plan each day in advance, allocate a specific amount of time to each stand or event and avoid time wastage.

Hit list
-    Make the extra effort to call suppliers beforehand and let them know you’ll be visiting their stands. Gather all their contact details and stand numbers. Scheduled appointments will save you from queuing up and prevent you from missing out on any new products.
-    Your call may even educate you further about the suppliers and you may find out they won’t be launching any new products at the fair, in which case, you can plan the suppliers you want to see in order of importance. If they’re updating a range with a few items, a visit is less crucial because it is likely you will have seen their products beforehand.

Keep the end goal in mind
-    Clearly define your intentions – decide if you’re attending the fair to buy products or to simply source more information. If you’re buying, stick to a predetermined budget and do not waver. Keep a log of your purchases so you can monitor day-to-day acquirement of basic stock.
-    Once you have decided what you want, conduct research. Look up various competitors, read official fair programs and gather information about suppliers and wholesalers to find out all available suppliers of the products you want. Use a buying checklist to record details of applicable suppliers. A buying checklist is akin to a shopping list divided into a few categories. You can study the fair’s official directory to prepare this buying checklist.
-    Merged together, the official directory and the buying checklist will help you plot the best path to follow. Use the directory to find stand numbers or to discover other suppliers in a particular product category you are interested in.
-    Allow 10 to 15 minutes between each appointment to ensure you stay punctual and prompt. The likelihood of running into old colleagues is high so leave time for short chats.

Stay focused
-    Keep your eyes peeled for anything that draws your attention or any stand that may be worth returning to later.
-    Visit existing suppliers first as it is important to strengthen your existing business relationships with them but don’t get too distracted. The focus should be on sourcing fresh products from new suppliers.
-    If your desired product is not on offer, move on. Don’t waste the suppliers’ time and yours.

Go with the flow
-    Despite careful planning, things can go awry. You or an exhibitor may be running late due to unforeseen circumstances. Always stay calm, poised and remember to do the polite thing and reschedule if you can’t make an appointment.
-    Busy periods will affect the suppliers sporadically so alter your schedule if need be according to these busy periods. Make notes in your buying checklist to remind yourself to go back to a stand when things get quieter.
-    If you haven’t followed your checklist to the tee by the end of the day, spend the final hour of the day arranging appointment times for the next day. You can also review the day’s orders in this hour.
-    As tempting as everything may look, slow your ordering down and enquire about every necessary detail you need to know about the product. Enquire about delivery time and delivery instructions in particular.

Be a social butterfly
-    The Sydney trade fair will be industry exclusive which means a concentration of fellow industry members all in the same place at the same time – something that rarely happens!
-    Use the fair as an opportunity to socialise with fellow industry professionals and confer about new product lines, products that are selling well or products that haven’t performed well. You never know what you may learn or what foresight you could bring to others.
-    Don’t forget to attend the extra fair activities such as information seminars and after-hours events. Information seminars will feature experts who will deliver invaluable insights into the jewellery industry while the after-hours events are a great chance to enjoy a glass of wine and forge solid working relationships.

Stay comfortable
-    Wear good shoes. You’ll often be pacing around and frantically running from stand to stand for a good part of the day. The concrete floor will leave your feet tired and sore so be sure to wear flats or padded shoes with ample support.
-    Bring a bottle of water to hydrate in the air-conditioned trade fair. You’ll be spending eight hours in a cool, dry atmosphere so it is vital to replenish and stay fresh.
-    Eat up to keep your energy and concentration levels up. You’ll need all your wits to keep up with the many suppliers and you may not have time to buy food in between appointments.
-    Lose the baggage. You are almost certain to receive a large amount of promotional material and international jewellery magazines. Sort through all your collected material and discard anything you may not need. If you’re still overweight, express post it home – that way you do not have to stop making any special purchases!









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Saturday, 21 September, 2019 10:56am
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