The annual ATA Trade Show features three days of non-stop bowhunting and archery excitement. Dealers, distributors and manufacturers come together to connect and write orders for the industry’s latest and greatest outdoor gear, including bows, arrows, optics, cutlery, apparel, targets, accessories and more. With so many products to see – and so much space to cover – it’s important to have a game plan before you hit the Show floor.
Whether you’re a first-timer or an ATA Show veteran, consider these 12 ideas for making your three days productive.
1) Make a Plan: If you showed up without a plan, sit down and make a list of people you must meet and manufacturers’ booths you must visit. Next, consult the Show floor map via the mobile app, and mark your high-priority booths. Next, plan your route. Whenever possible, move from one booth to the next nearest booth. In other words, go from Point A to Point B, not Point A to Point Z to Point B to Point X. The Show floor is huge. Ration your steps!
2) ATA ePRO, RGI and Member Services Area: Your ATA membership entitles you to many profit-building benefits. Make time – at any time – during the Show to learn how the ATA can help you build your business with programs designed specifically for you. Whether it’s expanding your business with recreational archery or streamlining your sales, inventory and service programs with ATA ePRO software, the ATA is here to help.
3) Attend Buyer Show: If you’re onsite Monday, visit the Archery Range & Retailers Organization Show in Exhibit Hall F. Talk to ARRO’s staff, and decide whether to join this buying group. ARRO members find many great one-day-only deals at the all-day ARRO Hot Show to get a head start on the ATA Trade Show.
Make a plan before hitting the ATA Trade Show floor. Make a list of people you must meet and manufacturers’ booths you must visit. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
4) Hudalla Associates Inc. PreShow: Retailers can also get a great preview of new gear from the many manufacturers working with the Hudalla Associates rep group during its annual pre-show event, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. in the 500 Ballroom.
5) Outtech Innovations: The ATA Trade Show’s largest industry-wide event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. in the Sagamore Ballroom. Outtech provides a fun, informative evening of food, entertainment, networking as it previews new gear from Outtech’s manufacturers.
6) Tried & True to New Trends: Most veteran retailers focus their first day on visiting “trusted” manufacturers that provide their main bow lines, arrows and accessories. After working through this list, they start cruising the aisles looking for new items to consider. They’re now hunting. They pay attention. It’s too easy to dismiss a new product that’s the next big innovation. But retailers who consistently recognize and stock true innovations build credibility with customers.
7) At-Show Specials: Each time you visit a manufacturer’s booth, whether it’s a new company or an industry standard-bearer, ask them about their Show specials. Many of these deals expire at 4 p.m. Thursday when the Show closes. Veteran retailers often write few orders the first day of the Show. They work the Show floor hard for two days, make many buying decisions Wednesday night after studying their options, and then spend Day 3 writing orders.
8) Featured Products: Whenever you need a break from booth visits, try speed-shopping in the Featured Products area. These products focus on the latest gear but also include items that debuted at previous ATA Shows. By putting them all in one place on the Trade Show floor, retailers can efficiently look, touch, feel and note which booths to visit next to place orders.
Retailers attending the 2017 ATA Trade Show receive a $150 Visa Gift Card to help offset costs of travel, lodging, food and more. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
9) Innovation Zone: This fun, intriguing area features the industry’s fledgling manufacturers who want to introduce their products to retailers and, just possibly, an established manufacturer. These innovators might not be ready to buy a booth on the Show floor until next year or later, but the buzz they generate in the IZ might just launch them sooner than expected.
10) Shooting Lanes: What if you’re intrigued by a new bow, sight, rest, arrow or another cool accessory? Ask manufacturers if they have a shooting lane where you can test their products firsthand. The Show includes a whopping 80 shooting lanes for that purpose. While there, keep your ears and eyes open while waiting your turn. You’ll often stumble onto great new products or other ideas to stock or include in your store.
11) Hospitality Events: Speaking of keeping your ears and eyes open, never miss an opportunity to attend social events at the ATA Trade Show. You never know when or where you’ll hear about a great deal, new product, or success story to implement.
12) Final Day: Many retailers flee town after the second day, or by noon on Day 3. Savvy retailers, however, hang around till the bitter end, knowing they can capitalize on some of the Show’s greatest deals during its final hours. Yep. Just like hunting. Some of the best action comes at twilight.