5 Tips for Making the Most of Global Pet Expo
We are now just a few short weeks away from Global Pet Expo—the pet industry’s largest annual trade show—which will be held March 16-18 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. And while there is still time to prepare for what is sure to be a valuable experience for every retailer in attendance, those who wait until the last minute to get their plans in order for the show are sure to miss out on more than a few opportunities.
With this in mind, Pet Business spoke with two of the executives responsible for organizing Global Pet Expo—Andrew Darmohraj, executive vice president and COO of the American Pet Products Association, and Steve King, president of the Pet Industry Distributors Association—to get some advice on what they think are the most important steps that retailers should take to make sure they getting the most from their show experience.
Tip #1: Set Goals
Every retailer who attends Global Pet Expo will have some expectation of what they would like to get out of the show. But heading onto the show floor without a clear idea of exactly what those expectations are is sure to prove counterproductive.
“Before you start walking the show, you have to know what outcomes you want from your visit to Global Pet Expo,” says Darmohraj. “Do you want to just see what the developing trends are? Do you want to find new products? Do you have to meet with certain vendors that you’re already doing business with? Is there a specific category that you’re looking to add to your store? A buyer really needs to have a sense of the purposes for visiting Global Pet Expo.”
Tip #2: Allot Your Time Wisely
Global Pet Expo is such a big show with so much to offer retailer attendees that it can easily become overwhelming—that is, unless you have a well-devised schedule for guidance.
“You have to have a plan,” says King. “If you come to this show without trying to at least outline your day, let alone map it out to the hour, you are just going to be flailing. You’re going to waste so much time and not get nearly as much out of it as you could. “
Tip #3: Identify Which Exhibitors You Want to See
Retail buyers will want to see a good mix of current and prospective vendors while at Global Pet Expo, but which ones?
“Before you get started walking the show floor, spend some time figuring out which exhibitors you want to see,” suggests King.
To devise a plan, retailers should look over an exhibitor list on the Global Pet Expo website before heading down to Orlando. However, while it’s good to have a list of must-see exhibitors prepared, retailers should also be sure to leave enough flexibility to see vendors that may not have been on their radar before the show.
“There’s no question that the New Products Showcase is one of the first places that you need to visit, so you can identify the new products that you really want to learn more about by visiting with the company launching them here at the show,” says Darmohraj.
Tip #4: Look at a Map
A successful plan for seeing as many vendors as possible depends on more than simply identifying your priorities, though.
“In addition to identifying which vendors you want to visit, identify where they are on the show floor,” says King. “Too often, attendees don’t realize that while they might have a plan for who they want to see, if one exhibitor is in the 200 aisle, and another is in the 3000 aisle, they may have a half-mile or more of walking to do between those two booths."
For this reason, it is highly recommended that attendees check out a floor plan of the exhibit hall before the show.
Tip #5: Pack Well
Even the most seasoned trade show attendees are apt to forget to pack items that can make their trip more comfortable, and successful. With this in mind, be sure to create a packing list before heading out to the show.
“Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes, and have plenty of business cards, a pen and a bag to carry samples and fliers in,” Darmohraj suggests.