By Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender
The CHA 2015 MEGA Show is right around the corner… Are you ready to go? You’ve booked your travel and hotel – have you done your homework? Each year we ask successful retailers to share what they do to make the MEGA Show trip profitable; here are some things to think about before you head for the airport:
- PRE-PLAN YOUR TIME
- Take a close look at your product sales histories. Which merchandise is selling, and which product is just lying around gathering dust? Make a list of the product and/or merchandise categories you need to buy to fill in or round out your assortment.
- Examine your current and committed inventories. You will also want to set a budget. It’s dangerous to go to the Show without a budget – you could easily buy much more than you intended to buy. If you haven’t done this before and need a little help, give us a call.
- Before you step foot on the floor, set a strategic plan on how to shop it. To do this, go to the Show floor map on craftandhobby.org/chashow and make a list of all the vendors you want to see. List them by booth number so you can work your way through the Show aisle by aisle.
- INVEST IN YOURSELF AND YOUR BUSINESS: SIGN UP FOR BUSINESS SEMINARS
A retailer in one of our seminars said, “My friend is in a workshop, and she’s getting $300 worth of free stuff. What am I getting in this class?” Our response, “How much is your business worth?” was met with a blank stare. We said, “Your business is only worth as much as you are willing to put into it. Your friend will learn a new technique – very important in a store that relies on creativity because customers count on you for new ideas, products and applications – but business seminars teach you the strengths and strategies every retailer must possess to take their store to the next level of success.”
- HIT THE EXHIBIT FLOOR RUNNING
Arrive early on your first day at the Show so you can get a good idea of how the floor is laid out, and take time to walk the entire floor. Take detailed notes as you quickly scan each booth. Note which products and vendors catch your eye – you’ll want to make plans to come back and visit these booths later.
Remember, opening day will be busy. Most people generally begin shopping at the front of the Show. Instead of following the herd, head for the back of the Show and work in the opposite direction of the crowd. You’ll find open aisles and hassle-free shopping.
- Plan to visit these places on the Show floor:
NEW PRODUCTS SHOWCASE: The New Products Showcase is the only place where you can see all of the newest and most innovative products at one time. Make this your first stop on the Show floor.
HOT PRODUCT VIP MEDIA AND RETAILER EVENT: Retailers and members of the press are invited to this event to preview the hot new products of 2015. You’ll get to meet and speak with the innovators and trend-setters who are shaping the craft industry.
DESIGNERS IN ACTION: The Designers in Action area is a three-dimensional portfolio of the CHA Designer Members’ creative designs and services. You’ll get great ideas, watch live demos, join in the make & takes, book signings and more. And you’ll discover how the Designer Section Members can help you build YOUR business.
INDEPENDENT RETAILER CONFERENCE: You know all those cool store operations vendors you’d like to meet with that usually aren’t found at the CHA MEGA Show? Good news! This year they’ll be here. The Independent Retailer Conference (IRC) is dedicated to helping CHA’s indie store owners improve their business. You’ll have a chance to hear and spend time with retail industry experts who can help you grow your business and explode your sales.
- Go through the Show Preview Guide and sign-up for events
The MEGA Show has so much to offer! Some of the events you need to sign-up for in advance in order to save your spot. Make plans now to attend workshops and classes on Education Day, the Keynote presentation, Block Party, Independent Retailer Conference; Annual Business Meeting, International Reception, Hot Product VIP Media Event – there’s too much to list! Download the 2015 CHA MEGA Show Preview Guide and get started now!
About Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender
Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender are professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and consultants whose client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in business. They are the go-to team retailers choose first when they need to make a change in-store and online.
KIZER & BENDER made Meetings & Conventions Magazine’s list of Meeting Planners Favorite Keynote Speakers; they’ve also been named “Two of Retailing’s Most Influential People.” And with good reason: Rich and Georganne are experts on generational diversity, consumer trends, marketing and promotion, and everything retail. They are widely referred to as consumer anthropologists because they stalk and study that most elusive of mammals: today’s consumer.
KIZER & BENDER are well known for their unique and intensive consumer research. Any speaker can talk about customers, but Georganne and Rich actually become them. In addition to yearly focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and intensive on-site studies, their research includes posing as every kind of customer you can imagine. And maybe even a few that you can’t! The result of their research is literally straight from the customers’ mouth: solid ground level intelligence you can use to better serve your own customers.
KIZER & BENDER’s observations are widely featured in the medias, including the ABC News special report “How Stores Hook You.” Their books Jingle Bells, Christmas Sells! and Champagne Strategies on a Beer Budget! have helped thousands of retailers improve their bottom line, and their bylined column, Georganne & Rich on the Road was twice honored with The American Society of Business Publications Editors Award of Excellence (ASBPE)
KIZER & BENDER will be presenting the following seminars at the MEGA Show: