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Trade shows and events are a significant part of the jewelry industry. Many retail store owners depend on these annual shows for the consistent support they offer to businesses. Others may be more hesitant and wonder why jewelry store owners should even attend trade shows. You may not be sure if the cost of traveling to and attending a show will be worth it for your business, if you’ll be able to compete with other businesses at the show, or if you’ll be able to learn anything. In this blog, we’ll discuss the benefits of attending trade shows for jewelry business owners, including networking, creating brand awareness, education, and more. It may be a leap of faith, but attending and effectively participating in in-person events can transform your jewelry business.


Networking Opportunities

In-person jewelry events are a great opportunity to forge valuable relationships within the jewelry industry. By exploring booths and presentations and striking up casual conversations at an event you can make connections with peers, suppliers, and other potential business partners.

When meeting people at a trade show, be polite and courteous. Shake people’s hands and look them in the eye. Take a genuine interest in what their organization does and their place in the industry, and don’t underestimate what you can learn from others. Having interesting conversations with other professionals is a great way to create connections, but remember to be respectful of their time, as they likely have a lot to do at the event as well.


Product Sourcing and Supplier Relationships

Navigating supplier relationships is a vital task for any jewelry store owner, and meeting suppliers in-person can give you an edge over those who manage this task solely online. A jewelry trade show will typically feature a wide variety of designers, manufacturers, and suppliers. By meeting and greeting these professionals in person, they’ll be able to see you and your staff as people rather than seeing only a business transaction, which will help you build trust and negotiate more favorable terms.

Meeting suppliers in person will also help you determine who you feel you can trust and who you’d like to work with. Most suppliers will display samples of their product that you can inspect. Pay attention to the quality, style, and price range of these items to determine if they represent the kind of jewelry you want to sell in your store.


Trendspotting and Market Insights

Attending trade shows will also help you to stay up-to-date on industry trends. New products and initiatives are often previewed at trade shows, giving you a glimpse of new developments in the industry that you may want to incorporate into your store. It’s important to pay attention to emerging trends and changing consumer preferences and update your product offerings accordingly. People tend to look for the next big thing, and if you don’t have it, they may look to a competitor.


Product Showcase and Brand Exposure

There are different kinds of trade shows. In many cases, you will be browsing the booths of manufacturers, suppliers, and organizations that want to sell you their products for your store. In other cases, you may be the one setting up a booth and showcasing your products. Either way, the way you present your brand should be intentional, unique, and memorable.

If you are showcasing your products, capitalize on this opportunity by creating a visually striking display that will draw eyes and people to your booth. Once they’re there, have a game plan for how you will talk about your brand with others to maintain their interest. If you’re exploring other booths, determine what important aspects of your business you can discuss with them.


Educational Workshops and Seminars

Many jewelry store owners have years of experience in the industry and may feel that they know all they need to about the industry. As valuable as their expertise is, the industry continually evolves and there is always something new to learn. This is why attending workshops and seminars offered at trade shows can be so beneficial to jewelry store owners.

Educational opportunities at in-person jewelry events offer industry insights, best practices, and opportunities to sharpen your business skills. Whether you’re a new shop owner or a seasoned veteran of the industry, you’re likely to discover something that could improve operations at your store. Before attending the conference, take a look at the classes offered and determine what topics are most relevant to your business. You may want to learn more about certain kinds of jewels and gemstones, or may want to learn more about general business skills like inventory or financial management. You may ask your staff to attend with you to increase their knowledge base as well. As you each learn more about the industry, you’ll be better equipped to run the business.


Sales and Revenue Generation

In the end, your business exists to financially support yourself, your family, and your employees, and attending a trade show should increase your sales to be considered a worthwhile endeavor. Trade shows will primarily be venues for you to explore resources that can help you run your store. Vendors at trade shows may offer jewelry or they may offer software, furniture, construction services, or other services that you can purchase to improve your store. Many trade shows are only attended by industry professionals and often members of the public are not even permitted to attend. You may meet a few potential customers, but this probably won’t be an emphasis of your experience. But you will be able to determine what products, materials, and strategies could help you maximize sales at your store. You may discover technology, resources, and strategies you never would have known about if you hadn’t attended a trade show.


Brand Differentiation and Competitive Advantage

As you speak with manufacturers and suppliers, be sure to communicate your unique brand. Before you go to a trade show, think through the unique selling points and competitive advantages your business has. You may want to brainstorm with your team about what makes your store different. When you’ve identified these points, be sure to bring them up in conversations at a trade show. These unique details will make your brand more memorable.


Return on Investment (ROI) Evaluation

You may not know exactly how much attending a trade show benefited your business until long after the show is over, but it’s important to measure the effect it had on sales and profitability to determine if you should continue attending a show or which shows to attend. If the public attends a trade show, you can track if you made any sales directly to consumers. You’ll also want to track how your store has benefited from products or services you purchased at a trade show or how your sales and margins have changed based on a new supplier you struck a deal with as a result of a trade show.

Keep your eye on the effect a trade show has had on your business. If it’s worth the cost of attending, you’ll want to keep going until it isn’t. You can always try attending new trade shows if the ones you’ve been attending don’t add enough value to your business.


Empowering your Business

As a retail store owner, it can be easy to get stuck in the world of your shop and lose touch with the industry at large. Attending trade shows can help you look outside your store and discover your place in the industry. It will help you stay relevant as you learn about new industry trends. You’ll be able to forge important relationships with suppliers, increase awareness for your brand, and attend workshops and seminars to keep your skills up to date. Ultimately, you’ll walk away better connected to the industry and better informed about how to maximize your sales.

Trade shows should be a crucial part of your strategy to grow your business. If you’ve never attended a jewelry trade show before, take the first step and join the many businesses that have been empowered to succeed by attending in-person events.

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