The SuperZoo website boasts that an impressive 1,100+ brands and other suppliers will be in attendance at its pet industry trade show in Las Vegas this August 2019. Which means that—if my calculations are correct—the Mandalay Bay Convention Center floor will be open for a total of 22 hours across three days.
So, assuming a buyer doesn’t stop to eat, go to the restroom or have a single meeting, a typical brand will get an average of 72 seconds to prove its worth. Let’s be realistic, however. There’s going to be tons of food, plenty of restroom breaks and lots of meetings. And, compounding with time constraints, don’t forget about the other 1,100ish suppliers also trying to make connections and sales.
If your brand is trying to get product on the shelf, you have about 30 seconds to make your case to each retail chain store buyer.
The possibility that brands will blur in a buyer’s mind is massive, so how can your brand break through and stand out from the horde of competitors? How can suppliers make a mark in half a minute?
Before answering, let’s look at why a buyer attends a trade show and what they look for.
Buyers are expected to know what consumers will purchase in the future, based on understanding historical performance, the evolving market and changing consumer demand. In addition to being able to find new products and partners, trade shows like SuperZoo are a great place for buyers to see what’s new, validate their current selection decisions, understand what’s coming to market and ultimately, what’s likely to influence future consumer purchase patterns.
In terms of new product, it’s simple. Buyers are looking to grow their business. At the end of the day, each new product a buyer selects needs to earn its keep. Anything a buyer adds to the assortment needs to drive growth.
Growth, however, can come in several forms:
- New purchase. This can be a new consumer to the store or a new product category for an existing consumer.
- Increase unit consumption. New products can drive unit purchases through increased frequency of purchase, increased loyalty/share of wallet to a store or increased units needed to replenish.
- Growth in ticket price. A new product with new attributes can drive a consumer to spend more on the purchase or trade up.
- Improved costing, sourcing and/or efficiency of inventory. New products can also drive the bottom line.
Regardless of how growth is generated, brands should be armed with information, data and insights on how their product will drive growth for the buyer.
So, with all that in mind, let’s get back to the question of how to put those 30 seconds with a buyer to work as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Many brands make the mistake of starting a meeting with a company overview and line list of products, which exhausts (and often exceeds) most of the 30 seconds, and just blends the brand in with the sea of other supplier booths. Brands will also often waste the time sharing a long list of product features, most of which aren’t unique or enticing for consumers.
Instead, use your time on two things: Why your product is different and how it will drive growth.
Most buyers visiting your booth will get a feel for your brand position from the décor and the products on display. Your booth’s graphics should reinforce your product’s points of differentiation, which just might grab the attention of buyers wandering the aisles for you to engage in conversation.
Once that buyer is there, your first move is to demonstrate why your product or company is different, and how that’s important to consumers. Save the company overview and product line list for the follow-up meeting.
“Hi, I’m Kristin Demel with Widget Orchards. My latest product is an apple that doesn’t have a core, which allows consumer to eat the whole thing with zero waste. It’s part of my ‘All Edible Fruit’ line that contains no stems, seeds or cores. “
Then, using data insights into your growth drivers (new purchase, consumption, ticket price, efficiency, etc.), you can explain how your brand will drive success for their store, making sure to connect it to your product’s differentiators. There probably won’t be time to justify why a product will drive growth or how much, but you absolutely need to cover these topics in the next meeting.
“This apple can boost growth for your stores through increased ticket prices. We have extensive data from consumer studies proving that shoppers are willing to pay more for ‘All Edible Fruit.’ Can we schedule some time to discuss this and other products in the line?”
Your goal during those 30 critical seconds is to demonstrate that you know the target consumer and competition, and how your product can drive growth. Be succinct and use the time wisely. While not every buyer is the same, and not every product will align to all strategies or priorities, one thing can be said for all buyers… They ALL want to hit sales plan and grow their business. Use your 30 seconds to let them know how you can help make that happen.