Archive for February, 2011

Stack them high and sell them well


Perfectly Happy PeopleWritten by Joanne Waltham from UK Baby Shows

Posted 28th February 2011

Recently I spoke to Jane Johnstone of Perfectly Happy People (distributor) and also The Baby Catalogue (retail) about exhibiting at the national baby shows. With 10 years’ experience Jane knows what works well with her stand and follows a simple formula:

“We take a few of our favourite products, the ones that everyone wants, stack them high and sell them well at a good price.”

PHP at the Baby Show Earls CourtIf you have ever been to the Baby Show at Earls Court or Excel you probably w
ill have noticed the Baby Catalogue stand as it is dominated by the Widgey nursing pillow stacked high around poles across the stand. It makes a striking display and Jane lets me into another tip – once purchased let your customer carry your product all over the show where other people will see it so that when they come past your stand they will also want one.  Apparently towards the end of the day Jane has people come to the stand with their money out asking for the Widgey nursing pillow. She offers a demonstration but they say no they don’t need one. They have seen so many people carrying a Widgey pillow that it must be good.

Whilst the Baby Catalogue stand is all about the Widgey nursing pillow Jane also puts a few impulse buy products at the £5 – £10 price point around the till. They also run a prize draw for that precious data acquisition.

Impulse Buys

With regards to staffing the stand, Jane brings in 6 specialist sales staff hired from Aesthetics. I asked why Jane doesn’t use her own staff and she pointed out that it’s not their job. By hiring in staff especially for the event she doesn’t have to worry about their travel and accommodation or if they are sick – Aesthetics deals with all that.  The sales staff turn up before the show starts and she gives them the training they need; although she often gets the same staff each time so that is not always necessary. She provides the sales staff with a branded apron as that is a more universal fit than branded T-Shirts. The stand does not operate on a commission basis so the sales team concentrate on demonstrating the product and there is no pressure to sell.

PHP at the Baby Show Earls CourtI asked Jane what her primary goal was for each event:

Jane:  “Do you want me to be honest?”

Me:  “Yes please….”

Jane:  “Sell on the day is our primary goal, secondly to meet the customer and to engage them for a long term relationship.  Our stand is successful as we arrive with a container of Widgey nursing pillows and we sell them all. Even so we only break even. If you don’t aim to sell on the day then you are definitely going to incur a loss.”

Of course Perfectly Happy People is also a distributor of nursery products so I asked if there was any business to business activity at this consumer show. Jane informed me that the shows are a good way to meet their current clients and that she is often approached by parents who have a great product idea but don’t know how to bring it to market. Perfectly Happy People, with 10 years’ experience of distribution, can help them put their products onto retail shelves.

I would like to thank Jane for sharing her experience. It has given me thought for the Baby Loves Shopping stand at regional baby shows. I wonder if I have been taking too many different products with me. Sometimes a visitor will ask me to demonstrate each product which can take some time and usually they buy only one or maybe none at all! In the meantime other visitors have walked away because we have been busy. At my next show I am going to slim down the product range and I will report back.

Review of the Busy Baby Christmas Show

Busy Baby Christmas ShowWritten by Kirsty Midgley of Busy Baby Show

Posted 1st February 2011

On a freezing cold morning in November the Busy Baby Show helped over 180 North Leeds families find classes, parties and christmas presents.

Busy Baby Christmas Show

Lion Learners and their collections of animals delighted children all day. From their long eared rabbit to their scary spiders, shiny snake and prickly lizards everyone could touch and feel – they were a huge hit.

Busy Baby Christmas Show

Creation Station and messy play was busy all day writing letters to Santa.

Busy Baby Christmas Show

The stalls in the main hall looked fantastic and while maybe not as busy as we would have liked everyone had a great day.

Our Busy Baby Daddy kitchen is proving to be a roaring success at our shows. All day bacon sandwiches and home made cakes and buns families could take a break from taster sessions or dad’s could catch up on the weekend papers.

Busy Baby Christmas Show

All in all a great day and looking forward to our July show at Benton Park.

Top tips for exhibiting at a baby show

Little Monster Baby and Toddler ShowWritten by Caroline Sparks from Little Monster

Posted 1st February 2011

The Bristol Baby & Toddler Show is in a few weeks time, 6th of March, and a phone call today prompted me to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, to help exhibitors make the most of their investment. Here are just a few tips:

Where possible, follow the exhibition organiser on Facebook/Twitter etc, and they will follow you back. Promote the show using your own communications channels such as newsletters, leaflets etc. Ask the organiser to send you their logo in Jpeg format (or Gif or EPS) and for PDF of the show’s advertising leaflet and/or poster.

When the show organiser sends out an exhibitor pack prior to the event, please read it, but not the night before! It is sent out to help you and will give you important information about every aspect of the show.

A couple of weeks before the show, check what type of stand you have booked, the space you have, what extras you have booked and what is included. It’s far easier to sort out potential problems before the show than on the day.

Think about pop up banners, posters, leaflets and anything else you will need for the show. Order them in good time. Often the show organisers will be able to recommend suppliers.

Arrive in good time to unload. There’s nothing worse than arriving late and feeling rushed and harassed before the show opens. Unloading can often be chaotic, depending on the venue, so arrive in good time. If your stand is set up early it also gives you time to grab a coffee and then go around the show and network with other exhibitors.

Check where the toilets and café are. If you are on your own ensure you take some refreshments to keep you going throughout the day.

Always ensure you have some sticky tape, string, scissors and an extension lead, plus other “bits and pieces” that may come in useful. If you have booked a shell stand, check how you fix posters etc to the stand. (This should be in your exhibitor pack).

Decide what your objectives really are. Do you want to sell, gather data, conduct research, launch a product etc? Put one or more targets in place before the show so you can measure the show’s effectiveness.

What will attract people to your stand? Your stand must look attractive and eye catching. Think about a prize draw, balloons, fairy cakes, sweets, a children’s activity table. All these things will attract mums, dads and children to your stand. If you have the budget, then having your logo on promotional items is a constant reminder to current and potential customers after the show itself.

Stand, rather than sit. Exhibitors who sit behind a table can look uninterested and unapproachable, particularly if they are chatting on their phone or with other exhibitors. Smile, make eye contact and look welcoming.

As mentioned before, take the opportunity to chat with other exhibitors throughout the day. Share experiences and make contacts.

And finally, wear comfortable shoes – it’s a long day!

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list – just a few thoughts which I hope will help. Do get in contact if you have anything to add or any queries.