Trade Show News

June 11, 2020 • Jess Schmidt
Supporting shoppers and store buyers in changing times

{Sponsored} It seems that everything has changed since the beginning of 2020. Trade shows are being canceled or rescheduled, and foot traffic has translated to curbside pick-up and online sales.

In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers are pivoting to serve their customers in ways never before imaginable. Whether this means taking orders over the phone, learning the best ways to offer shipping, delivering locally and otherwise differentiating themselves from other small businesses trying to keep afloat.

As a result of expanding their offerings, retailers have been able to both safeguard for the future and reach customers who otherwise may never have stumbled into their store.

Reaching retail shoppers in new ways

Joy Stein, owner, artist and curator at Joy Stein Craft and Design, sells predominantly to tourists at Zion National Park. In order to reach customers, Stein has shifted from only selling via foot traffic to catering to the wide variety of visitors from across the globe who normally support her small shop.

Joy Stein in her shop
Joy Stein in her shop

Stein’s tiny shop is filled with high-quality artisan gift items, primarily handmade and unique, so that the goods and service set Joy Stein Craft and Design apart from other tourist-driven shops — including those outside of the Zion National Park area. The hard part about businesses in the small town of Springdale, UT, is that it’s completely reliant upon the tourists and too far from higher-populated areas for shoppers to visit.

In the current pandemic, Stein has been given the time to create a website from the bottom up and has started to drive shoppers to it. This has allowed Stein to recreate the feel of her shop in an online format — one Stein says loyal customers have requested for years.

In addition to offering online sales and shipping purchases to her customers, Stein is also offering private shopping. One customer gets the run of the 273 square-foot store; after the customer leaves, Stein cleans and sets aside any clothing that was tried on for 24 hours.

Revisiting Stein’s Las Vegas Market plan

During a typical Las Vegas Market, Stein drives in and focuses on the temps, starting towards the end of the show. On day two, Stein visits the gift building, and then rounds out the trip with appointments and maybes from days one and two. Since Stein’s shop is tiny, she appreciates that many of her favorite Las Vegas Market vendors are offering drop shipping and low minimums; as a result, Stein has been able to stock the shop as needed instead of having a large amount of product in storage.

“They are hungry to get me product now,” Stein said. By working with vendors Stein has bought from in the past, she feels she is reducing risk for her tiny store. At future markets, Stein plans to continue seeking out the high-quality products from artisans that she finds at every market.

Pivoting to support buyers the new rep group goal

Rep groups and makers alike aren’t just offering better terms — they’re also ensuring the product that shops need is available and up to their standards.

Jackie Moon, principle at Next Step Reps, started to get requests for PPE from buyers at the start of the pandemic when sales at the rep group’s showroom had dropped off. Moon and her team pivoted, along with eleven of their vendors, to selling PPE, also searching for additional PPE vendors. In August, Next Step Reps will have a section of their 30,000 square foot Las Vegas Market showroom devoted to PPE such as masks, hand sanitizer and face shields.

PPE-display-Next Step Reps
A PPE display at the Next Step Reps showroom

“One of our taglines is ‘let us be your partner in success.’ We’ve said that ever since we’ve been in business. We want to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Want to be their partner and show value. If showing value is supplying them with the items they need to be successful right now, that is what we need,” Moon said. Next Step Reps has started to source air purifiers requested by the California Dental Association, and is working with more hospital shops and even assisted living facilities that previously weren’t part of their core business.

LVM: supporting buyers and sellers alike

Moon is also appreciative of the support her group has received from Las Vegas Market. The LVM team surveyed buyers to find out what would make them feel comfortable about returning to market, and then implemented suggestions such as temperature checks, use of PPE and increased cleaning measures. “They are protecting us and have good plans in process for the show at the end of August. I am super grateful we are going to have a show this year,” Moon said.

As far as health & safety measures in place for the Aug. 30-Sept. 3 show are concerned, International Market Centers — parent of Las Vegas Market — has developed extensive protocols for its markets and vetted them with a renowned epidemiologist. Some of the elements typically offered at market, like seminars and trend programs, will now be offered online prior to market so buyers can use the information to pre-plan their visit. The Las Vegas Market website also has an extensive exhibitor directory and other helpful resources available.

For details about Las Vegas Market’s Reopening Plan and Market Protocols, visit togethersafely.com.

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© 2020 Las Vegas Market

 




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