You’re attending an ECRM event and trying to make sure you are as best prepared as possible. In my first post I touched on logistical arrangements, product samples and display preparation, and what to include in your buyer presentation to make a strong case for your brand getting on shelf. This post will cover tips on what to know about the retailers you’ll be meeting with, room set up, and actions to take after the show.
Learn about the retailers
After the final schedule is published, prepare a meeting folder for each retailer you’ll be seeing. In it, include a profile covering what you know about their current assortment in your category, signage and display standards, and other details that may be pertinent to your brand’s success in their stores. If there are stores in your area of the retailers you are meeting with, plan to visit them prior to the show. This way you can speak more knowledgably about specifics concerning that retailer. It’s also a good idea to look up the buyers on LinkedIn to become more familiar with them prior to the show.
Once in your room, you should place the folders in a chronological sequence so you can easily retrieve them in the correct order as the meetings progress.
Prepping the room
One mistake I have noticed in some of the ECRM meetings that I have attended is that the room is too dark. Make sure that you have enough light in your room – either natural or artificial – to make the room welcoming and inviting. This will also help make sure your products are seen in the best possible light.
Since buyers are going from one room to the next, all day long, make your room as comfortable as possible. Watch the room temperature, remove clutter, and have beverages available. Believe me, they will appreciate being offered a refreshment since they don’t typically have time to get something themselves.
It’s also nice if you can greet the buyers at the door. This can help get the meeting started on the right foot.
Set up your product displays so they can be seen as soon as the buyers enter the room and are the last thing seen as they leave. Product samples should be placed on the table within their reach so they can pick them up and look at them if they wish. If your products can be sampled during the meeting, make sure you have samples at the ready.
At the end of the event
DO NOT start packing up during your last meeting! This could be the one meeting that brings the biggest success from the event. Show the last buyer the respect that they deserve for visiting with you.
Work with the show staff to understand the tear-down process. When do you need to be out of the room? How clean does the room need to be? How do you arrange shipping for your exhibit materials? What can you do with samples you don’t want to take or ship back?
Preparation is the key to success, and when you have done the work ahead of time it will show. Good luck with your meetings, and stay tuned for my next post about essential follow-up actions after the show.