Should you consider trade-shows next season?
28 September 2016
Author: Vesta Zemaite
The key fashion trade shows are now over; brands have exhibited their SS17 and few of those who offer quick delivery or selling from stock showed their AW16 collections also. After speaking to brands across trade fairs in Europe and America and reflecting on the trade show reports, we have collated some insights.
Should you exhibit your collection at a trade show?
Brands go to trade-shows for different reasons: for publicity, to get interest from agents, buyers; however most aim to write orders. If you are a new brand on the block tis may appear being more challenging. You will find that the most busy stands at the shows are often those of established brands, who have been consistently present at the show season after season. Buyers want to see continuity; that after presenting your collection the first time, you keep going, evolving as a brand, evolving your collection, come back the following season stronger and better; keep yourself visible on the lists, in the halls of numerous brands.. Needless to say, trade press is equally important - you need remain visible. Therefore budgets are crucial for continuity…
1. If you plan to show at a trade show, first, make sure its the right one for you. Make sure you do your research, visit the show before, speak to your competitors, what can you expect from the show? Is it the right one in terms of brands showing, country, city? Are you aiming for a local audience or international one? Picking the right show is not everything though…make sure you know the best halls and you know which brands you need to be sitting by; you want you avoid finding yourself in the deepest corner of the least visited hall on the day you arrive to set up your beautiful stand. You also need to make sure brands similar to you are in the same area, so you are exposed to the group of most relevant buyers.
2. Second, make sure you have planned long term strategy for sales and marketing – who is going to sell you collection in the market? Do you manage your sales yourself? This often works in your home market but may not necessarily so in the foreign market, where buyers prefer to deal with local agents who can follow up in their local language, have local –know-how-, can deal with delivery and other issues etc. We spoke to both brands and agents who agree with our point of view that it is perhaps tehmost sensible to find an agent first in the local market, then support the agent with the PR activity; if you can invest in local PR it should bring you the best results, don’t forget marketing in local trade press, engage with local consumer etc; then showing at trade shows nicely intertwines with these activities. Established agent will bring buyers to your stand and help build the brand and sales in the market.
3. If you have decided to show at a particular trade show, make sure you do your homework; do not expect buyers to come on your stand if you do not
invite them! DO your research, pick your top biutiques, buyers you want to invite. Write to them or call them well in advance telling them why your collection would sit great in their shop and bring them profit. You need to make sure they trust you and believe in the potential of your collection. Make it easy for them to buy form you, offer free delivery, low or no minimum orders.
4. Last but not least, make sure you make your stand ‘stand out’ – make sure it lives and breaths your brand; this is your chance to make those busy overwhelmed buyers to stop by; how are you going to do that? Take into consideration lighting and visual merchandising – make sure you are innovative and showcase your collection at its best. There is no point going and investing all the money with mediocre stand; think of every possible detail, prepare, train your team and go for it. Make sure everyone in your team knows your delivery dates, commissions, prices and all other crucial info. Buying should be made as engaging and as easy as possible ; if you cant show every sample in every colour available, make sure you find the best intuitive way to do so. Paperwork should be straight forward. Freight costs should be included (ideally) , prices clear….