Fashion Navigation: Helping Attendees Make the Most of Their Trade Show Visit
Whether attending a stand-alone trade show or heading into the multi-venue shows in Las Vegas, Los Angeles or New York, buyers and other trade-show attendees have a lot to see in a limited time. Fortunately, trade-show organizers have created plenty of ways to make it easier to plan their visit in advance or gather information on the show floor. California Apparel News spoke to several trade-show organizers about the resources they have to help attendees navigate the shows.
At trade shows, buyers and attendees have a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time. What tools do you have to help them navigate your show? From printed materials distributed before or during the show to technology or other resources available on the show floor, how can attendees make the most of their time at the show?
President of Footwear, Advanstar
(including FN PLATFORM, MAGIC, WSA, Sole Commerce and PROJECTsole NYC )
It’s critical to all of us at MAGIC that we provide great tools to help attendees navigate the show. Given that, we start communicating well before, as well as during the show, to be sure everyone has success. It’s all about connecting the retailer and exhibitor through a number of channels. We have three touch points—the human touch, the print component and the digital touch. I think we really touch all people’s sensibilities for wayfinding.
First off, MAGIC is wired—from “Map Your Show” to our “Shop the Floor” digital platform. “Map Your Show” is an interactive, intuitive method for retailers to see where brands are located and map out their day in advance. At the show, we actually have 60-inch interactive television screens that you can touch to bring up “Map Your Show” for anyone on the show floor. And then “Shop the Floor” takes it a step further. It’s basically a virtual showroom that offers folks a snapshot into what they will see on the show floor. It’s an amazing digital platform to extend discovery, connection and commerce before, during and after the show.
In advance of the show, MAGIC provides electronic look books that are custom tailored to a retailer’s segment. For instance, in swim, we’d target the retailers that buy within that category and communicate in small sound bites with images and contact information. It makes the information digestible before they even hit the show floor.
Our monthly newsletters, called “Top of Mind,” keep us in constant communication. They have personal notes and updates from each of the show’s presidents to the retail community and the exhibitors, giving them an overview of the events that are happening on show sites and any new educational seminars and activities.
Once the show begins, everyone should pick up our show directories. They each have huge pullout maps, and everything is clearly divided by category. They tell you specifically what brands can be found in specific areas.
To keep things simple, we have created neighborhoods within each show. This makes it easier for retailers to find what they need. Each show floor is mapped out and divided into classifications, price points and categories, enabling buyers to navigate from a retail perspective. People remember colors and street names, so we’ve taken that concept and run with it. If you have questions, we have answers! Onsite we have a huge number of what we call “Ask Me” staff. They are staff members wearing “Ask Me” T-shirts. They are a wealth of information, and they are everywhere—the show floor, the lobbies, out by the buses. You can’t miss ’em.
One of the things we like to say is that business at MAGIC not only happens in the booth but in the hallways, the lounges and throughout the entire show floor—so we make it easy for you to find your way.
Axis will be debuting for the Fall 2015 season on Feb. 22–24 in New York. Leading up to the launch of the first show, we will be releasing content and news on our website, www.axisshow.com, giving insight to both retailers and brands on what to expect. A focus of Axis is to remain accessible throughout the process leading up to the event and engage with our community by releasing the exciting developments as they happen. Our Instagram, @Axisshow, launched a few weeks ago and is a source for show-related news and inspiration. There will also be an app for easy navigating throughout the show as well as in-the-know Axis staff members on hand essentially acting as a mobile and friendly help desk.
Because Brand Assembly LA is carefully curated and purposely uncluttered, there is less of a need to “navigate” as individual buyers are visiting and placing orders with a large percentage of the brands within our show. Where we add value is in increasing the efficiency of the time buyers are spending with each of our brands, so they can in turn spend time with more brands at our show.
Through our partnership with JOOR and their presence to assist at our show, brands utilizing JOOR are able to streamline the selling process, and buyers are able to spend less but much more productive time with the individual brands.
Additionally, with the highly curated nature of Brand Assembly and our very “hands-on” approach, we provide individualized attention to buyers. From personally escorting them to meet the brands they are seeking to introducing them to new brands, buyers have commented that their time at Brand Assembly is very productive and extremely efficient.
Lastly, as Brand Assembly is very much about the discovery of emerging talent, we have a dedicated section for emerging designers and a corresponding “Getting to Know You” Q&A brochure, giving buyers a glimpse into the creative mind of undiscovered talent. The piqued curiosity has led to some great success stories, and what better way to make the most out of time spent at a show than to discover what is new and cutting edge?
California Market Center
We provide several different tools to assist buyers and attendees so that they will have a productive and efficient market experience.
Prior to the show, we send out a campaign of e-blasts, which are designed to inform buyers of specific show areas they’ll find at LA Fashion Market.
For buyers who follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, we provide them with daily updates across all social-media platforms, including which brands will be exhibiting, new lines that showrooms will carry and trends throughout the showroom floors.
We also send a direct mailer that includes a navigation guide listing out show areas according to type of merchandise.
Once at the show, buyers can conveniently shop our merchandized trade shows and showroom floors. For example, buyers looking for accessories can go to our accessories wing, 10A, or the Select trade show.
Attendees can refer to our directory given to them upon registration. Our directory lists resources by both categories and specific line name, making the show easier to navigate based on the buyers’ needs.
If a buyer has a particular question regarding the resources at the show, our concierge-like information booth is available each day during show hours.
Ultimately, the CMC’s goal is to create an easy and enjoyable experience for all buyers who attend LA Fashion Market.
Co-Founder, Creative Director
Coeur Trade Show
At Coeur, it’s important to make sure all buyers are able to view our brands while walking the show. We provide a very easy check-in system for them, but also because we have built relationships and know many of them personally, it gets them in and off to discovering what’s in store for that season. We also provide each buyer with a map and program listing to help spot the brands they may already have appointments to see. Our card-scanning system documents all buyers on file and lets them keep their business cards for when they really need them. Coeur maintains its “intimate” showcase setting to ensure buyers that we’ve done a lot of the work for them by keeping the show heavily curated and focused on brands they know but also introducing them to ones that should be on their radar!
Chief Executive Officer
CurveNY New York and CurveNV Las Vegas present the best selection of leading and upcoming designer intimate and swimwear brands. With over 300 exhibiting brands in New York and over 150 brands in Las Vegas, the show has proven to be the one-stop shop for buyers looking for lingerie, swimwear, men’s underwear, loungewear, etc. CurveNV Las Vegas provides the buyers on the West Coast the convenience of being at their own doorstep and in an intimate setting that encourages order writing during the two-day show. CurveNY New York, with its three-day format, creates an upbeat atmosphere and gives brand representatives the time to meet with business partners as well as create new ones.
CurvExpo delivers a full experience that facilitates business for both brands and buyers alike through all of its tools. Each one of our exhibitors receives year-round marketing exposure through our website and social-media tools. We also provide on-site marketing exposure for our exhibiting brands within our updated show catalogue, floor plan and selection guide as well as the possibility to have various other printed and online exposures. Also, before and on the show site, the Personal Shopper Program is a personalized service provided by our knowledgeable staff created specifically to help retailers shop the show floor. The Personal Shopper accurately identifies who is the visitor and what are the visitor’s needs. What brands best apply to the retailer’s profile and needs are then suggested, and any questions regarding the show and its exhibitors can be answered.
At CurveNY New York, there are several conferences held throughout the three days that discuss various topics oriented toward brand representatives and retailers. At CurveNV Las Vegas, the 20|40 Program was introduced, the first-ever resort hotel and spa program organized by a swim and lingerie show that brought together 20 top resort and hotel-industry leaders representing more than 350 properties with a selection of 40 intimate apparel and swimwear exhibiting brands. At the end of the show, over 120 appointments were booked by CurvExpo between the hotel and resort representatives and the brands.
CurvExpo is constantly looking for new ways to best serve the industry. We look forward to implementing future editions of the 20|40 Spa Program as well as implementing new features for 2015, including a new Web platform, expanded VIP retailer program and extended outreach to new, emerging designers.
Interfilière New York, held on Sept. 23, was a one-day event that focused on providing North American retailers and brands with direct access to selected leading suppliers from the intimates, swimwear and performance-apparel markets. With a total of 31 top selected mills from 12 countries and four continents occupying the exhibit floor and meeting with over 300 qualified American brand and retailer representatives, the intimate format facilitated business for both the attendees and buyers.
Not only was the exhibit space conducive to business with an open layout and lots of natural light, but the manageable size of the venue and the one-day format allowed exhibitors to easily meet with numerous new brands. This full experience eased and encouraged business for both brands and buyers alike. Various conferences were held throughout the day with topics ranging from a video presentation illustrating trend directions while incorporating fabric samples of exhibiting brands to consumer-oriented brand strategies associated with the benefits of certain types of fabrics and sourcing techniques and manufacturing solutions for the fashion industry found in South America, as well as a presentation given by a chief industry analyst on product marketing and innovations in a rapidly evolving market.
Before the show and on the show site, the Personal Shopper Program is a personalized service provided by our staff, who know and understand the textile industry and, more specifically, the exhibiting mills at IFL NY. This program helps visitors to shop the show floor more accurately by identifying who is the visitor and what are the visitor’s needs. The Personal Shopper will then identify the mills to visit, seminars to attend and answer any other questions about the show and its exhibitors. This is a great program for new brands taking their first steps in production and also a great service for existing brands that may be looking for something new and innovative. Interfilière New York is set to take place again in September 2015.
Executive Vice President, Marketing
Dallas Market Center
Dallas Market Center is the premier marketplace in the country for convenience, inspiration and top lines. Providing resources before and during a show to guarantee buying success while at market is a top priority and one of the best ways we can serve our new and loyal buyers.
The most important way that buyers can make the most of their time at market is to plan ahead and download the Dallas Market app, which provides the most up-to-date information on exhibitors, product categories, maps, events and more. The app will help organize each day for maximum efficiency and is available for download on a smartphone or tablet. Our website, www.dallasmarketcenter.com, is another vital resource for buyers. With exhibitor information as well as events consistently updated, buyers can plan their whole trip seamlessly before they even step foot into the marketplace.
In addition to the Dallas Market mobile app and resources on the website, buyers should follow Dallas Market on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter for product previews, information on upcoming markets, education and inspiration. Exhibitors post new lines or products on these social sites leading up to market, which is a fantastic visual resource for buyers.
Another key tip is to take photos of visual merchandising ideas that can be executed in the store. To ensure the discovery of new lines, buyers should visit at least one showroom they haven’t worked with before and explore the temporaries for new products at every market.
Our buyers attend markets in Dallas to gain the competitive advantage—whether it’s access to the hottest lines and networking opportunities or the many inspiring fashion shows and displays. Trend seminars and discovery tours by retail expert Rawlins Gilliland can be invaluable as well as networking opportunities with other retailers during social events. As we continue to expand our product offerings, we’ve also continued to expand our programs to offer the resources and education our retailers need to succeed in their businesses.
We’re thrilled for what’s in store for Dallas Market Center in 2015. Dallas is convenient and easily accessible from both East and West Coasts and located in one of the healthiest economic regions in the U.S. With consumer confidence in our area rising 33 percent since last year, we’re seeing growth, increases in attendance from key buyers and new manufacturers at each market across all industries. And the costs of doing business in Dallas are lower than any other marketplace, offering a more reasonable return on investment. With a broad array of leading manufacturers calling Dallas home, buyers get business done across many categories more efficiently.
Designers and Agents
Designers and Agents continues to present the strongest selection of both emerging and established brands as well as creating a great environment for both exhibitors and retailers to conduct business.
D&A screens and curates and hand selects every brand that participates. We understand how much territory retailers have to cover and the limitations of their schedules, and this reality influences our commitment to bring the absolute best and most relevant brands to the marketplace.
D&A provides several tools for retailers to navigate its shows prior to the show, during and post show, as follows:
A complete show directory is available on D&A’s website (www.designersandagents.com) each season. The list is comprised of participating brands in each city. In addition, each brand name is hyperlinked to the individual company websites. This is available until the start of the next season. This tool allows attendees to schedule appointments with participating brands and research new resources at D&A.
Each season D&A creates special communications highlighting those brands that are new to D&A. Social media is also used to keep buyers in the loop.
At each individual show, a printed directory of exhibiting brands is presented to attendees upon arrival at the venue. The directory lists brands and company contacts along with any special designation, such as those that are CFDA members, new to D&A and/or produced ecologically. This assists retailers in noting brands and having all brands’ contact information for future use.
Signage at the entrance and throughout the shows lists the participating brands per venue. This allows attendees to familiarize themselves with the participating brands and provides a better scope of what they can anticipate per location.
Receptionists at each D&A location are provided a floor map and are able to guide attendees accordingly if a retailer is looking for a specific designer.
Suzanne De Groot
Fashion Market Northern California
The Fashion Market Northern California (FMNC) mails out a showbook before the start of every show, five times a year. Our showbook contains all the brands and lines exhibiting at the show, show-floor map and market schedule for appointment planning.
We also do email blasts before every show featuring show announcements and specials—free hotel offer, happy hour, parking specials and more.
We mail a postcard several times a year announcing our show dates for the year.
All our printed material encourages all buyers and exhibitors to visit our website, www.fashionmarketnorcal.com, to pre-register, make reservations and schedule their appointments.
We offer a complimentary shuttle from the Marriott hotel to our show daily for our out-of-state buyers that fly in—no need for a rental car.
Lazr Trade Show
E-newsletters have been a resourceful tool for Lazr show attendees. Prior to the show, we send buyers daily “brand alerts” for the presenting brands featured in our newsletters. With short descriptions and bold product images, each brand alert is tailored to present a merchandising mix that we feel the buyer will appreciate.
The newsletters also give attendees a chance to preview what brands will be showcasing at Lazr as well as any events taking place so that they can better plan their days with us. This way, they know exactly who will be there and what lines they want to see.
[During the show], we also offer show guide books and helpful team Lazr staff located in front at registration.
The No. 1 tool we give attendees is a focused, easy-to-navigate brand mix merchandised in the mindset of the buyer. We’re always on the hunt for what’s new in the market, which gives the show an element of discovery. We’re retailers ourselves, so we’re thinking, living, working and breathing the life of a buyer, always focused on what’s next. I believe this is why the buyers are so excited about shopping our show.
We, of course, provide other tools for navigating and enhancing the show experience, including our show guide, which contains:
• Trend forecasting by Fashion Snoops
• List of all new brands with bios, contacts and website
• Full alphabetical brand listing with booth numbers
• Detailed tear-out show map
• Notation of Made in USA brands
Swimwear Association of Florida
We make sure to prepare our buyers and give them as many tools and resources at their fingertips as we can. We start by listing all of our exhibitors on our informative website. We follow that up by sending out a gorgeous digital monthly newsletter that highlights seasonal top trends via select images from our members, plus direct marketing via print and digital formats, social media, etc. We also disseminate press releases on a regular basis that announce any new and exciting exhibitors joining our show. And last but not least, we have an easy-to-read floor plan in the directory, which is mailed in advance as well as distributed at the trade show and in large display cases throughout the show.
President and Chief Executive Officer
BJI Fashion Group
MRket/Vanguards Gallery, AccessoriesTheShow, Stitch
MRket/Vanguards Gallery, AccessoriesTheShow and Stitch offer a clear vision along with a fresh perspective by closely connecting with the retail community pre-show, on-site and post-show via marketing materials, almost-daily email blasts, our My Market app and social-media outlets, in addition to our extensive personal outreach programs. Our diverse mix of communication is designed to serve the needs of every one of our retailers. Some prefer looking through printed pre-show pieces while others like the convenience of having a first look at the shows through our vast digital media efforts. Our websites provide show-specific information such as look books, show guides, exhibitor profiles, article and brand buzz sections, as well as detailed on-site amenity and information pages. Special sections are produced by our sister properties, Accessories Magazine and MR Magazine, which can be accessed via print or digital, and our social-media channels provide a lively flow of buzzworthy news and imagery to engage our audience and further reach our communities. Our comprehensive print and searchable digital resources facilitate the discovery process for retailers and provide an advantage to pre-shop the shows.
MRket/Vanguards Gallery, AccessoriesTheShow and Stitch combine their unparalleled reputations for personal service in creative, easy-to-shop environments. The show floors create a platform that truly caters to conducting business in an uplifting, inspirational, amenity-filled environment. Special curated sections are developed, such as The Nest, coming to AccessoriesTheShow this season. Lounges complement the show atmosphere and support community interaction and networking while our amenities—which include complimentary breakfast, lunch, cappuccino bars, cocktail receptions and taxi reimbursement—are designed to enhance the experience. MRket, AccessoriesTheShow and Stitch take great pride in being recognized as the order-writing shows in Las Vegas.
[The] “Book With Us!” [program] is now even more enticing for our exhibitor and retailer communities with a room rate of $219 for February 2015. We continue to add elements of fun and excitement to the Las Vegas experience for our retailers through programs such as the room lotteries, upgrades, an after-party, and exclusive offers from other Venetian/Palazzo retailers and restaurants. The convenience of being under the same roof as MRket/Vanguards Gallery, AccessoriesTheShow and Stitch as well as the desire to stay at The Venetian/Palazzo’s five-star property have made our hotel incentive program a very important resource for our audience.
We are very excited to be part of Modern Assembly—the strategic alliance made up of AccessoriesTheShow, Agenda, Capsule, Liberty, MRket/Vanguards Gallery and Stitch. An unprecedented, forward-thinking approach built on old-fashioned values, Modern Assembly was conceived to benefit the industry at large. Cooperation, at the heart of the alliance, allows for an improved forum for more than 2,500 of the world’s most exciting men’s and women’s clothing and accessories brands to meet with North America’s largest audience of fashion retailers.
Executive Vice President
Tarsus Expositions USA
Before the show, buyers can explore our Online Interactive Floorplan, which allows them to search by company or category of interest and set up meetings. The Online Exhibitor List allows them to gather contact details, booth numbers and locations. Plus, our Buyer Relations Team can assist attendees in all aspects of pre-show planning.
On site, they will find the Category Wall and Floorplan, located at the main entrance to the show. There’s also the Buyer Info and Social Media Room in meeting room 101 (adjacent to the registration counter). There attendees will find trained staff to assist with any needs.
There are also complimentary Buyer Tours held twice daily during the first three days of the show at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. On the tour, attendees will get advice and tips on how to shop our show.
International Exhibitions Director
For the six Paris shows (Expofil, Première Vision, Modamont, Indigo, Cuir à Paris and Zoom), the change slated to take place at the next edition (Feb. 10–12) is extremely significant. The offering—the only one of its kind in the world—is taking on an entirely new dimension under the single Première Vision brand name. This new brand policy has several advantages for visitors: greater clarity and visibility of the offer, and increased synergy between the different business activities showcased. Each show will retain its own personality and unique character as well as the display and promotion of its specific expertise and expression in the market.
This change will involve more and more shared tools for buyers and attendees, starting with a one-stop website to be launched mid-November. This is going be a rich source of information in terms of fashion news, show news, preparing visits and making appointments with exhibitors.
Since the last edition, we’ve also made a free mobile app available to visitors. This is in addition to the printed show map/guide.
The very size of the event (there are some 2,000 exhibitors) calls for special attention to signage to make finding your way around the show as easy as possible.
And we can’t forget the fashion tools, which are real guides to the season’s trends, starting with the forums presenting samples of exhibitors’ products, the seasonal “factsheets” distributed free in the fashion areas and the TrendVision seminar, presenting the key fabric and color directions.
And something else that’s very important: our U.S. team, based in New York, is available to visitors before the show to help them prepare their visits and can also be contacted during the show in Paris to answer any questions that arise.
For New York, given the growth of the show—which, as a result, has, since the last edition, been moved to Pier 92—we are also currently putting in place more visitor services and tools, like a free shuttle to get to the show, a mobile application, a map/guide handed out at the show entrance and daily updates to our website.
But most of all, following our events on social networks lets you get our latest news live and as it happens!
SoCal Materials Show
A list of all exhibiting suppliers and a floor map goes out to all attendees as a spreadsheet in advance of the show.
There is also an updated list and floor map on our website (www.thematerialshows.com/socal_materials_show.html).
Printed show directories, which are distributed at the show site, have suppliers’ profiles and booth numbers as well as a floor map.
Plus, on our LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter pages, attendees can find a PDF/JPG of all suppliers.
Senior Vice President
Emerald Expositions Sports Group
At Surf Expo we believe that pre-planning by attendees is essential to a great trade-show experience. Surf Expo strives to provide segmented up-to-date show information before, during and after our events to all attendees. A challenge for all show promoters is understanding that there is no one single communication channel that works for all attendees and that a mix of print, digital, online, mobile and social is essential to helping attendees be better prepared to take advantage of an event.
Pre-show communication and resources provided include a strong social-media push promoting products and brands exhibiting, targeted email messages, online directories and product catalogs, a mobile show app with opt-in appointment scheduling, and pre-show print and digital publications.
During the show, Surf Expo provides networking events, on-site electronic maps, print and digital show guides, opt-in SMS event updates and reminders, and a mobile app that includes scheduling, directory listings by company and product and show category, event schedules, a social-media push, and floor maps.
Post-show support includes online and mobile-app directory resources, digital product catalogs, targeted product highlight emails and post-show surveys.
Group Show Director
Messe Frankfurt North America
Texworld USA is constantly striving to improve the visitor experience by offering attendees multiple options to help save time and energy while sourcing product on the show floor. Below are just a few examples:
• Visitor’s Guide: Our full-color, printed Visitor’s Guide provides attendees with detailed exhibitor information. Exhibitors are listed alphabetically as well as by primary product offering. The alpha listing provides detailed information regarding each exhibitor, including company description, contact information, country and minimum-order requirements. Listings by product category groups like exhibitors by primary product offering allow attendees to quickly identify exhibitors that suit their needs on the show floor. In addition to the individual exhibitor listings, a color-coded show-floor map is included in the Visitor’s Guide as well as the Exhibitor Locator on the show floor, which provides a larger view of the entire show floor and acts as a visual guide for attendees.
• Eco-Friendly/ Lower Minimum Guide: For visitors who have very specific sourcing requirements seeking eco-friendly or lower minimum exhibitors, Texworld USA provides a convenient flyer listing all exhibitors who meet specified requirements. This flyer provides buyers an immediate reference tool to locate exhibitors who have been certified and verified as sustainable or eco-friendly suppliers and those who have lower/reduced minimums.
• Mobile App: The award-winning Texworld USA Navigator App is complimentary to all visitors. This free app is compatible with virtually all smartphones and provides a wealth of information delivered directly to your hand-held device. The mobile app includes all of the exhibitor information and show-floor maps that are included in the Visitor’s Guide as well the seminar schedule, speaker bios, social-media links and a photo album, just to name a few. The Texworld USA mobile app was awarded “Best Niche App” at the 2014 Digital Nichee Awards earlier this year. This tool has proven to be a valuable asset for busy professionals who want the detailed information of the Visitor’s Guide conveniently delivered to their mobile device.
• Tradegood Matchmaking Services: Once again, Texworld USA will offer complimentary on-site matchmaking services offered by Tradegood. Attendees can be matched with exhibitors that offer goods and services that meet their needs and have confirmed appointments set prior to attending the show. This service saves our attendees time and creates efficiency by targeting only exhibitors that meet their requirements/needs. Tradegood will also be available on the show floor in the Resource Center to assist visitors on-site who wish to take advantage of this complimentary service.
Specialty Trade Shows
WWIN (WomensWear In Nevada)
We print one of the biggest and most comprehensive show directories of any show. We add to that maps of the floor plans around the halls. We also have one of the best apps that gives attendees information on exhibitors by category, by location and by name. The WWIN app, available for iOS and Android devices, comes with a pre-loaded event map and exhibitor list. Buyers can highlight specific booths or areas to visit, use GPS to navigate the show, create a custom schedule and record their show notes.
We are constantly praised by how easy it is to find what buyers want. Sound conceited? I think we have reason to be. First and foremost at WWIN are the buyers’ needs.