It seems that trade shows used to be somewhat of an industry-only affair. They were designed for, and catered to, the professionals that had a direct relationship to the industry that was represented and these shows were usually not open to the public. But, lately the trade show industry seems to have opened up to the power of ‘buying in numbers’ and trade shows specifically targeting consumers and set up with trade show exhibits that are primarily there to sell their wares have been increasing in number.
To be fair, there are still a decent number of the old-school variant on trade shows where the focus is more on industry insiders. In fact, some of the largest expos are set up this way. The consumer electronics giant CES and many auto shows come to mind. But, there are now just as many trade shows where exhibition halls feature hundreds or even thousands of exhibitors which are really just primarily vendors that are selling products from behind pop up displays or other trade show exhibits.
Recently, some industries have focused on these consumer-directed types of trade shows. The outdoor recreation industry has several shows focused on selling products to consumers and the fast-growing MAGIC Market Week fashion expo utilizes over 100,000 square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center, not for models to walk the catwalk and show off the newest styles, but for consumers to browse and purchase products directly from vendors.
“Everything we do is coming from a perspective of the buyer and making their shopping experience successful,” said Allison Lombardo, VP of marketing for Advanstar Global, which owns the show. The show is even launching an e-commerce portion of its website so that consumers can buy fashion accessories and clothing online, without ever having to set foot in the convention center and wade through the miles of pop up trade show displays las vegas to find what they want.
That’s something that you wouldn’t hear from a lot of more traditional shows, where trade show exhibits are certainly set up with an eye to generating sales and leads, but don’t typically sell products or services directly on the show floor. For the more traditional trade shows, the focus is primarily on long-term marketing, social networking and professional development. Not so for many of these newer shows where trade show exhibits are set up to drive the most revenue through the cash register on that particular week.