Front-End Overhaul


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3 Lessons We Learned at the Atlanta International Gift Show

Last week, a group of 20 front-end managers and buyers joined me for two days of gift searching at the Atlanta International Gift Show. Our posse hiked high and low (and I mean hiked—three buildings plus 50 floors total = 25,000 steps!) for the hottest unique gifts and items for the front end. Here are a few lessons we learned during our experience that you can use at the next trade show you attend:

  • Get comfortable with saying to vendors, "Sorry, I don't want to waste your time, I'm not your customer for this type of product. I have to move on." You just did the sales representative a favor and saved yourself some valuable time to look for that hidden great item lurking at your next stop.

  • The "hottest Item" at a booth may not always be a good fit for your store. Remember, the hottest item is showed to everyone who walks into the booth/show room. That item invites a large field of competition and, more importantly, soon-to-be-available, less expensive imported knock-offs.

  • Items shipped at a later date due to being out-of-stock will incur higher freight costs. When placing an order at a show, it's wise to cancel all out-of-stock items or ask for them to be shipped at no cost. In addition, do not allow any substitutions. A 3-foot gnome holding a rose cannot be substituted with a frog dressed as the Easter Bunny. Yes, there is such a thing and I own one. Don't let this happen to you:

Gabe Trahan, NCPA Senior Director of Store Operations and Marketing

Front-End Overhaul

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