Say you have a great, unique product that you’ve managed to produce and maybe have made it available for sale online and in a handful of retailers. Then what? Making the jump to the big retailers is never easy, but entrepreneurs can learn a lot from these three case studies to help guide the way to success.
IntelliGender, LLC was started in 2006 by two moms, Rebecca Griffin and Teresa Garland, who over lunch one day came up with the idea for a home gender prediction test for expecting mothers. The Gender Prediction Test was to be a fun and affordable way to bridge the gap between conception and sonogram.
The test was initially available online only, which helped Griffin and Garland learn about their customers and grow their business slowly. The next step was to work with a few local maternity stores. The product was so popular at these shops that the two founders decided to exhibit the test at baby and maternity trade shows, which got them a deal to sell their product in regional chain supermarkets. This exposure eventually caught the attention of national retailers like Walgreens.The IntelliGender Gender Prediction Test was such a success at Walgreens that other national chains like Rite Aid, CVS and Target soon wanted to sell the product also. For Griffin and Garland, trade shows allowed them to step up to the next level, and they could not be happier about their experience.
Lesson Learned: Trade shows are a great way to introduce your brand to retailers. Buyers walk these shows looking for unique goods, so being at the right show can open new doors for you and your brand.
When considering trade shows, take the following factors into account:
- Choose trade shows that showcase brands of comparable quality to yours, which attract the kind of buyers you want to meet with.
- Select who will represent your brand at the show very carefully. Only the best will do – and unless you have a dedicated marketing staff it’s probably you.
- Decide how to display your product to maximum effect. Plan a demo if your product works best as a hands-on tool.
- Think realistically about the cost of attending a trade show. They can be expensive, but you can offset certain costs by doing things like sharing a booth with another product, for example. Also, remember that the exposure a trade show can provide can lead to a vendor relationship that could last a very long time.