How Global Pet Expo keeps reinventing the business experience.
Even with all of today’s technology, there’s still no substitute for meeting in person. Face-to-face interactions are key to building relationships and valuable connections are developed through networking. Being the first industry trade show of the year, Global Pet Expo serves the critical role as the venue that offers attendees an optimal business experience that can help set the stage for success each year.
I’m proud to say that with an expanded show floor, new educational sessions and additional networking events, Global Pet Expo offered manufacturers, buyers and distributors more opportunities than ever at the 2018 event. As the industry’s premier trade show, our team is dedicated to and constantly working on innovative ways to enhance the show and the overall attendee experience. And, given the unprecedented energy and event attendance this year, it is clear that our attendees are more engaged than ever.
For example, each year we have hundreds of new exhibitors, and we know the show can be overwhelming for first-time attendees. With that in mind, we offer a New Member Welcome as a way to network with others who are new to the experience, and we have show staff on hand to answer questions. We had an impressive turnout this year and the level of enthusiasm among participants was inspiring to us all.
In looking for new ways to provide educational experiences on the show floor, we added mini educational sessions that took place in the New Products Showcase. These were so well attended, there was standing room only. We also featured a new stage and seating at the New Products Showcase awards ceremony, where buyers’ favorite products are announced and celebrated. The event was packed, and this year buyers submitted twice as many votes over last year’s event.
We also debuted aquatic seminars in the Aquatic Lounge on the show floor and received phenomenal feedback. Moreover, we expanded the Global Pet Expo Academy with more speakers offering retailer education on topics such as social media marketing, competing with online retailers, merchandising tips, customer service solutions and the hottest topics in employment law. With 20 speakers and a record number of attendees (more than 1,800), you can expect to see more of these opportunities.
Speaking of growth, the next generation of professionals in the pet industry was a focus this year as well. In an effort to further engage with young industry members, the APPA Young Professionals held a series of meet-up events throughout the show to provide networking opportunities to the up-and-coming professionals attending Global Pet Expo. From a coffee get-together featuring a barista that created lattes in the likeness of attendees’ pets, to a gathering at the Global Pet Expo Sports Bar, these events were tremendously successful and the 2019 show will definitely include even more of these exciting opportunities.
Following the Retailer Excellence Awards, the Industry Breakfast had a new twist this year with roundtable discussions that encouraged the sharing of best practices and information on timely topics. Each table had a moderated discussion on topics including “Improving Your Customers’ Shopping Experience” and “#ReachingYourTargetCustomer,” to name a few. These business-building discussions were a popular addition and we received positive feedback.
With all that said, we are already working on next year’s show, which is slated to be bigger than ever with even more space to do business. If you have ideas you’d like to share with us, please reach out to me or one of our team members. I look forward to seeing you all again at next year’s show, March 20-22, 2019
in Orlando! PB
Andrew Darmohraj is executive vice president and COO of the American Pet Products Association.