With Global Pet Expo just around the corner—the show kicks off next week in Orlando, Fla.—the pet industry is buzzing about what to expect during the action-packed, three-day event. As the exclusive publishing partner of Global Pet Expo, the Pet Business staff is excited to cover events from the show floor, as well as product unveilings, and we’re currently in the process of mapping out our plans for the show.
As busy as we are, we know Global Pet Expo can also be a little overwhelming for buyers attending the show. With that in mind, I reached out to several exhibitors to see what they are most anticipating at the show and what advice they could offer buyers.
Many exhibitors are looking forward to the face-to-face interactions with their customers that Global Pet Expo affords. “Global is a tremendous opportunity to meet with our retailer partners one-on-one, strengthening existing relationships and growing new ones,” says Jason Hart, director of marketing at PetSafe (booth 2757).
Laura Jones Herr at Jones Natural Chews Co. (booth 3801) concurs. “[My favorite thing about exhibiting at Global Pet Expo] is speaking with our customers face to face because most of our business is done through phone and electronics,” she says.
The show also gives exhibitors and buyers a chance to see what’s new. “It is also an opportunity to see trends in the pet industry and identify new opportunities for growth,” Hart adds.
As the pet industry’s largest trade show, buyers can expect to see a lot of new product introductions, and exhibitors love the reveal. “It is exciting to launch a new product at Global because you have to opportunity to meet so many industry people during the three days of the show,” says Wendy Shankin-Cohen, president of Dr. Harvey’s (booth 4200). Dr. Harvey’s will launch its freeze-dried food line, Oracle, at the show.
Meeting with as many suppliers as possible and keeping up with all of the new product launches at the show can be a tall order, but Shankin-Cohen notes that the more organized and focused the buyers are, the more they will get out of the Global experience.
Lee Higgens, vice president of sales and operations at Hi-Tek Rations (booth 2679) says buyers should take their time and map out companies they want to see. “Take a morning or afternoon just to cruise the entire show,” he says. “Make sure to visit the new product showcase and pay attention to new exhibitors as well as the traditional stand-bys.”
Arguably the most important tip Higgens offers is to wear comfortable shoes. In fact, I’m planning my trip to the local DSW now.