How to Shop the Show

Before the Show

SET GOALS. These can include building basic merchandise, adding fresh lines, meeting new vendors, and even boosting staff morale by taking as many people as you can. Decide on specific goals, and write them down.

DECIDE WHAT YOU REALLY NEED. Check inventory and find out what is and isn’t selling. Note what customers have been asking for, including specific wish-list items. Decide how much money you want to allocate for new merchandise that you think will sell.

PLAN TO TAKE ENOUGH PEOPLE. It’s a big show. The more qualified people you can send, the more you’ll get out of it. Same goes for seminars.

VISIT THE SHOW WEB SITE. At www.jcklasvegasshow.com you can register, check the complete list of exhibitors, view the floor plan, get information on pavilions, and sign up for JCKShowDirect, an online product locator that lets you check and compare loose stones, fine jewelry, watches, equipment, and accessories. You can also book your trip through JCK Las Vegas’s travel services for the best deals on hotels, airfare, and auto rentals and get discounts on Las Vegas restaurants and entertainment.

PLAN YOUR STRATEGY. Read the official Show Guide, familiarize yourself with the floor plan, and figure out how you’ll cover it all. Determine which suppliers are “must see” and decide if you want to visit them before browsing or browse first. Arrange appointments with key suppliers and know what you want to discuss, for example new products and trends, marketing plans, terms and memo, stock balancing, return and exchange privileges, credit, and delivery.

At the Show

ATTEND SEMINARS. JCK Las Vegas 2010 will have two full days of educational programs before the show opens for business. It means an extra day or two of lodging, but seminars are free and you’ll learn a lot. To make the most of the program, have staff members attend different sessions and take notes.

CARRY THE POCKET PLANNER OR NAVIGATOR. They’re lighter than the Show Guide. Use them to find your way around.

COMPARE. Check prices of similar merchandise from different exhibitors, but also consider quality, reputation and support, delivery times, and return privileges.

TAKE NOTES. Be prepared with pen and paper and write down answers to questions, prices, thoughts and impressions, product details, and other pertinent information.

DON’T RUSH DECISIONS. Make sure you really want the merchandise and you’re comfortable with the supplier. Don’t make a purchase merely to justify your attendance.

MAKE GOOD USE OF YOUR STAFF. One way is to assign each member a section of the show or a type of merchandise. Arrange for the team to meet once or twice a day to compare notes. This will also boost the confidence and expertise of your staff.

PACE YOURSELF. The show is hard work; don’t let yourself become exhausted. Take time to sit. Drink some water. Review your notes. Have a chat.

NETWORK. If you’re willing to share information, you’ll get some good information in return. You’ll also have opportunities to strike up new friendships and renew old ones.

HAVE FUN. Do socialize, but don’t let partying interfere with work. Use moderation.

After the Show

HIT THE PRESS. Some shows offer a hometown publicity service; check your show guide for details. Usually, the show will arrange to send pictures of you and details of your attendance to a local newspaper. Make full use of such publicity. In addition, call your paper’s fashion editor when you get home. Give details of the show and what you bought.

STAGE AN IN-STORE PROMOTION. Prepare a special display of the merchandise you bought. Add pictures of the host city and some of you at the show. Invite your better customers to come by for this special viewing. Serve light refreshments.

OFFER YOUR SERVICES AS A PUBLIC SPEAKER. Inform local groups you’d like to reach that you’ve just been to a major jewelry show. Give a short talk on merchandise trends, fashion tips, and gift ideas. Add some atmosphere about the show and the host city.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SUPPLIER OFFERS. Follow up any supplier offers of help, whether they involve a personal appearance in your store, help from a traveling salesperson in training your staff, or the availability of co-op ads.

HAVE THE STAFF SHARE INFORMATION. Staff members who attended different seminars can give presentations to the other staff members.