Things to consider and expect to get the most from this annual trade show.
After attending and presenting at this year’s StorePoint, there are a few things that I believe are important for store owners to consider before going next year to make the most of it. I’ve been a part of this industry for many years and as an entrepreneur servicing the retail sector, I was invited to speak to attending retailers about Retail Design. Over the years, I’ve attended every kind of retail trade show and I’ve seen some things that worked well and some things that haven’t. StorePoint stood out to me as a must attend show for store owners working hard to grow their business. The trade show offers a valuable and unique opportunity for retailers and vendors to build lasting relationships.
Of course, the most important part of any trade show is networking. It’s the golden practice of growing any business to find those who you can help so they can help you. For retailers, one of the most important relationships to build is the relationship with credible vendors. Instead of sending cold emails or playing email tag, the retail industry, like many others, has conceived annual trade show events like StorePoint. StorePoint Retail brings the mantra, “it’s all about connecting,” to life and brings retailers looking to build their enterprises with vendors looking to sow their supply to the market, which from what I’ve seen in past events, can boost your business to higher levels as well as create strong ties with vendors.
StorePoint Retail is an annual invite-only event and retailers at all different stages in their business, from the owners of one store to the owners of over a hundred, attend for free. Just like the many past trade shows I’ve attended, StorePoint schedules the usual presentations with speakers from vendors like me, and panels, but unlike the others, StorePoint offers retailers to arrange one-on-one appointments with their preferred vendors to make connections that benefit their businesses. Retailers can choose vendors based on their needs and discuss them in detail to vendors. These intimate one-hour conversations can help you truly evaluate the value of what they’d provide for you and you can decide what you need and what you don’t need.
From Speed Dating to Taking it Slow
Typically, events like this usually consist of some form of “speed-dating” where retailers speak to multiple vendors for a short time to get as much information as they can from all the vendors they can reach. This means that in just one hour, retailers would have spoken to twelve vendors for only five minutes each – not a long time to build a partnership. The five minutes of discussion gives little opportunity for a vendor to learn about a store owner’s real challenges and goals, so each conversation ends up being the same “one size fits all” (which it doesn’t) pitch over and over again. This process proves to be exhausting and fruitless. StorePoint changes the game with retailers choosing the vendors who have the answers to their current business needs and arranging a one-hour one-on-one appointment to get the most out of their preferred vendors. The added time gives both retailers and vendors the critical time to dive into the real goals and challenges that the retailer faces and determine a possible concrete solution or connection to accomplish these goals. This conversation is the key to lay a strong foundation for other business efforts.
I cannot stress the importance of retailers having the opportunity to build relationships for immediate partnerships or for future endeavors. In my career of creating relationships and working with entrepreneurs, I’ve seen one too many store owners treat trade shows like business vacations and attend them just to bring something home, rather than take the time to learn more about improving their businesses.
Here are some tips to prepare for events like StorePoint Retail to get the most out of the event.
Retailer Tips to Make the Most of StorePoint Retail:
- Determine your goal: What do you want to achieve in your retail business in the next year or within the next three years? A few points you can consider asking yourself are:
- Opening a new location
- Restocking issues
- Expanding or contracting a location size
- Finding anything that the vendor can help you identify and change
- Do your research: Go through the list of vendors attending the event to see which ones stand out to you and your business goals.
- Make a list: Find and book appointments with the vendors who can help you achieve your goals and note down how they can help and any points you want to discuss with them.
- Psych yourself up: The key to networking is to make people, both vendors and other retailers, remember you so that you can approach them in the near or far future to improve your business.
- Get adequate rest: Events like these can feel like a marathon with attendees shuffling from one presentation to another. Try to shift some of the professional networking to more low-key meetings like grabbing a drink at the hotel bar to build a strong foundation of friendship in addition to professional partnership.
This is what helped with our discussions with retailers. The best and constructive conversations were with store owners who already knew what they wanted. The conversations were able to target specific points in business and allowed me to show even more ways for them to expand their current operations. And instead of giving away a mountain of printed material that will most likely become lost or thrown away, retailers left with practical ideas that they can use right away with everything else on the USBs we gave them with the information they need further down the road.
I was able to discuss with retailers the important part of my business. Usually, retailers get their excitement from all the possibilities that could be implemented, but lose their enthusiasm in the middle during the execution, and then regain it upon completion when they see the amazing results. The one-hour appointment I had with retailers gave me the opportunity to share the excitement of the middle part of building their ideas. The process after the design is necessary and brings the design to life, which takes weeks to even months to complete with the best tradesmen for proven successful results. Retailers may not anticipate the development step in retail design in the same way that I would anticipate it. After explaining the importance of this step, retailers leave knowing the specifics of what is involved and who they can rely on to get it done correctly and efficiently. This knowledge can be more important than any single other hour at the event.
Events like these can be overwhelming for all parties to organize and attend them all. Going in fully prepared can offset any anxiety of missing any information that you might value. It’s important to build connections, but your business is a priority. At StorePoint you have the opportunity to plan and execute immediate partnerships to boost both your business and the vendor’s business.
It is not necessary to attend every retail industry event as it would be overwhelming and exhausting. But if you are going to choose a trade show to attend, StorePoint Retail should be your choice. It will be my choice each and every year, but you don’t have to wait till then to talk to us. We can set up an hour to really get into your business and needs at any point in the year. Contact us and we can set up the one-on-one conversation that can change your business from good to excellent.