Events

Navigating #ATA2018: How Do I Buy for My Business?

Attend these PreShow events and use our buying tips to get the most bang for your buck at #ATA2018.
Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Author: Cassie Scott

With five pre-Show events underway at the 2018 ATA Trade Show, it’s go time! But before you snatch this year’s latest and greatest products for your store, read these buying tips that won’t bust your budget.

Create a Budget

The only way to stay within a budget is to first create one. Decide how much you’ll spend, and never spend more than you allocate. Track your purchases and keep a running total so you know how much more you can spend. Restricting yourself helps you buy smarter and more strategically. You can always buy more later if you can’t resist an incredible deal.

Attend a Special Event

Outtech Innovations and the Hudalla Associates Inc. PreShow feature specials, giveaways and new-product debuts. These events Wednesday let retailers write orders and get a head start on buying for 2018. Attendees can use the shooting lanes before the Show opens at the PreShow from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the 500 Ballroom. If you work up an appetite, attend Outtech Innovations for free food, drink and entertainment in the Sagamore Ballroom at 6:30 p.m.

Make a shopping list to help you set your buying priorities. Use your store data, like sales and inventory reports, to create your “wish list” of must-buy items at the Show. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

Explore Your Options

Although the Show makes your heart race and your finger itch, just relax and take deep breaths. Don’t buy anything until you’ve evaluated what you need and know what’s available. You never know what cool, innovative products might await around the next corner.

A good way to inspect great products is to browse Featured Products, an area that covers 30 floor spaces and helps retailers focus on exciting gear that customers can’t resist. It’s centrally located in Exhibit Hall F, and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Make a Shopping List

Make a shopping list to help you set your buying priorities. Use your store data, like sales and inventory reports, to create your “wish list” of must-buy items at the Show. Just make sure it’s also what your customers want, not just what intrigues you.

Take Pictures and Detailed Notes

The 2018 ATA Trade Show covers 216,750 square feet of booth space, making it hard to remember what you’ve seen, ordered or promised to buy. Matthew Hudson, president of Hudson Head, encourages retailers to take pictures of products they buy at trade shows to avoid duplication. Review your images before buying something new to ensure you aren’t duplicating orders for similar products. If you don’t like taking photos, detailed notes will help!

Another way to get the best deals? Hunt for closeout sales. The Balance says most vendors have products they want to dump. Ask exhibitors about these products, too. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Request Discounts, Seek Closeouts

Trade Show specials are one thing, discounts are another. Gift Shop Mag said trade shows are a great time to ask vendors for better prices. The worst thing that can happen is your price stays the same. At the very best, you might improve your margins by a couple of points. It never hurts to ask!

Another way to get the best deals? Hunt for closeout sales. The Balance says most vendors have products they want to dump. Ask exhibitors about these products, too. Buy them if they make sense for your business, and sell them at retail price to get a good margin.

Take a Break from Buying

The longer you’re on the Show floor, the more you’re teased, tempted and “peep-pressured” to buy. Look for better ways to boost your business. Visit the Member Services Area to discover programs and services aimed at developing your business, not stocking your shelves. Programs like ATA ePRO, web-development services, the Retail Growth Initiative, and Explore Bowhunting or Explore Bowfishing all offer helpful, innovative ways to boost business and strengthen our sports.

Take Advantage of ATA Hospitality

Use the free Wi-Fi while resting your feet and filling your stomach at a strategically placed food court. Talk to ATA staff members if you have questions or want to learn about Show offerings. Find Matt Kormann, the ATA’s CEO/president, and tell him what’s on your mind regarding the ATA, the Show or the industry.

It’s Go Time!

Check out the ATA’s Trade Show webpage for more articles to help you maximize your time at the Show.

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