The Truth about Trade Shows
For me, the month of means three things: my birthday, beach weather & the ASD Trade Show in Las Vegas. If you are not familiar with this general merchandise extravaganza, you need to be! It is the best way to get amazing discounts on everything you need for your dollar store, wholesale or general merchandise business. This is your chance to get a jump on the competition and get set for the biggest buying seasons of the year (Back-to-School and Holiday, anyone?). As a newcomer to trade shows, I would like to share a bit about what you will experience as a Kole Imports customer if you choose (wisely) to attend the ASD Trade Show, coming up August 8th through 11th at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
You might be one of those people who hears the phrase “trade show” and automatically envisions suffocating crowds and labyrinthine aisles of merchandise. I admit: I was one of them too. Before my time at Kole Imports I thought all trade shows were too big, too loud and too crowded. At their mere mention, I experienced visions of being buried alive in a landslide of sales people and general merchandise. But now I know that there is nothing scary about trade shows. How can I be so sure? Because I worked as a Kole Imports representative at the last ASD Show in February!
It was my first time at a trade show of such magnitude, and I had my doubts. But by the end of the first day I realized that working at the Las Vegas ASD Show was no different than working at the small retail boutiques of my youth. Sure, I had to be familiar with more merchandise, but I was still able to provide the highest level of customer service to all with whom I worked. Since Kole Imports is equipped with a large and experienced team of general merchandise experts, there were more than enough people to handle the volume of customers we received. Every customer that came through our booths received one-on-one attention from a member of our sales team or support staff.
One of my favorite customers from the show was Henrietta from South Carolina. She ran a small business from where sold homemade gift sets made of cocktail napkins rolled with some sort of matching utensil or implement. She described her clientele as “southern belles” who enjoyed shopping and had a taste for “all things girly.” For example, she might wrap a colorful nail file set with a matching cocktail napkin and ribbon. Or she might take a colored glass spice jar and pair it with decorative tissues and teaspoon. Her main specification: “Everything must be tiny!”
I had so much fun touring Kole Imports’ booths with Henrietta and trying to come up with creative ideas for her gift sets. It took us almost two hours to find just a few items that fit her specific needs, but all of that time spent was worth it. Henrietta found some great deals, and I got to meet a fascinating woman with a witty and unique business sense. Henrietta and I kept in touch after the show, and to this day I think of her whenever we get new napkins or colorful tissues in stock.
While most people view trade shows as impersonal events where it is easy to get lost in the crowd, such is not always the case. My first trade show experience gave me the chance to provide hands-on assistance to customers with extremely diverse business needs. If you visit Kole Imports at the ASD trade show this August, you are sure to get the attention and personal assistance you deserve along with the best selection of closeouts and general merchandise anywhere. See you there!
Photos by Marat.