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Trade Shows: What Do Vendors Want?

Trade Shows: What Do Vendors Want?

2 August 2019
Author: Jasmine Waters

It’s a story we’ve all heard before – trade shows are shrinking and attendance is in decline. You may have even seen it first hand, with the format struggling thanks to e-commerce and the declining number of brick-and-mortar stores. But are they still worthwhile for brands to attend, and how can shows adapt their strategy for vendors in the future? 

What do the vendors say? 

In a recent article for Fashion United, many vendors interviewed agreed that regardless of their faults or continuing lack of attendees, trade shows were still a vital part of their yearly calendar. Brands are still able to achieve appointments, with many brands able to meet their goals for opening new accounts and network in a way that is still valuable to their business. That being said, it can’t be ignored that the trade show format is in dire need of an update. Next year presents a brand new decade, which provides a great opportunity for the circuit to re-invent itself.

How can trade shows do this?

Most importantly, vendors want to see more benefits for them when attending a show. The level of incentive now needs to be a lot higher, perhaps by providing support in new ways, such as providing means of accommodation when travelling (as it can be off-putting to travel to a show if a level of success if not guaranteed), or integrating more interactive elements into the overall experience, for example, introducing ‘meet and greet’ style meetings to increase engagement with buyers. Added to this could be a new level of diversity, with attendees reporting they would like to see the real ‘range’ of ethnicity, race and sizes being given a proper chance to shine in this environment – copying what we are starting to see come through in the retail sector. Vendors have also said they find more success when engaging with more ‘experiential’ stores, looking for business that are not just able to move a high volume of product, but are also able to tell a story and advance the brand in more meaningful ways. 

If brands don’t see a return on their investment, they are more likely to turn to other solutions, such a showrooms, to showcase at and make turn over higher. However, if trade shows themselves can now approach what they do from a vendor’s perspective, there is no reason that can become beneficial to an increased amount of attendees once again.


Photo credit: https://www.modefabriek.nl/en/visit

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