Anyone who visits a trade fair as a retailer or buyer expects to see great products and get loads of inspiration. Sabine Gauditz, a trade fair junkie, has some tips for us as to how a visit to a trade fair can become even more efficient. The visual marketing designer and buyer of non-book articles for the bookselling trade knows how to get a bit more out of a visit to a trade fair. We asked her what kind of tips she has for retailers and buyers to really get into the flow of the trade fair.
Spielwarenmesse®: What are the prerequisites for enjoying an efficient trade fair visit for you?
Sabine Gauditz: I find it easiest to make quick and efficient decisions for or against a product as a team (that is to say, with someone else). Knowledge of trends and current social values is a key criterion when it comes to purchasing. The knowledge of which products have sold well in the shop recently and which have been rather sluggish is also fundamental.
Anyone who – already during the purchasing stage – can already imagine how the product will be presented in the shop later on can better estimate the quantity required so that the goods can be presented in a harmonious way and so tempt customers to actually buy something
The purchase decision should be made on site at the trade fair, because – what with all the other tasks you have in your everyday life – it's easily forgotten.
What are your personal tips for trade visitors so that they can have a successful visit to the trade fair?
S. G.: The chief thing is to walk through the halls with your eyes open. Yes, a day at the fair is stressful. Besides comfortable shoes, it involves a high degree of multitasking, making quick decisions for or against products, a precise idea of how the goods will be presented in the shop later on and how they can be combined into a visual story. Because the customer can easily order any product on the Internet. He wants to have emotional experiences in the specialist shop, to have a curated assortment compiled according to recognisable criteria and harmonious visual communication. All this has to be taken into account when making a purchase at a trade fair. So when you buy, you should think more in pictures, that is to say in stagings, rather than in individual products.
A well-stocked trade fair trolley is a must for me. Having enough business cards, a pen and a notebook (even in the age of the smartphone!), a charging cable including spare batteries for my mobile phone, headache pills and, maybe, a spare pair of shoes to change into.
Whether it's your first visit to a trade fair or what seems like your hundredth, you have to be and remain curious and enthusiastic. People who really enjoy the goods and buying get such a buzz from it all that the strain of the trade fair day is merely a minor matter.
What is your tip to the newbies and old hands among the buyers when it comes to getting ready for a visit to the fair?
S. G.: I think whether you're a "newbie" or "old hand", you have to set your priorities for the trade fair visit in advance:
Do I want to maintain an existing business relationship, discover new companies and product ranges, or track down upcoming trends? Who is the main target group I'm buying for? That's to say you mustn't let yourself be tempted into only buying things that you yourself like, but those that your customers like. Do I have any special events or topics planned, and am I still looking for partners for them among my suppliers?
After many years of visiting the trade fair, you may know one or two short-cuts on the trade fair grounds. But even the hall occupancy changes again and again, which gives especially long-time fair visitors the chance to rediscover exhibitors and assortments again and again and to perceive them in new arrangements. It is also refreshing to walk through a trade fair aisle again from the other direction. The different perspective is often incredible, and you suddenly see products that you didn't even notice the first time round.
In any event, you should always have the guts to try out new assortments.
Ms Gauditz, thank you very much for your tips on how to make a visit to a trade fair even more efficient.
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