5 Tips for Preparing for a Retail Buying Trip or Trade Show

Kirsten Hynds and Brett Luft Business, Tips and Tricks

As we gear up for trade shows it is good to have a strategy so that you can maximize your time at the show, without wearing yourself out! Here are a few things you can do to help make your time more productive during this hectic time!

  1. Generate POS reports – come armed to meet your vendors at the show! Bring some key reports that will help you in your buying and negotiating with vendors. This is a key time to strengthen your relationship with your vendors and negotiate special terms!

    Here are just a few key reports that can help you:
          Sales by Vendor Ranked by GMROI – what return on investment am I getting from this supplier (i.e for every dollar that I invest in their product, how much do I get in return?)? How can I maximize this relationship? Will they give me better terms (net 60 terms instead of net 30 – which means that I have twice as long to sell their products before I have to pay for them)? Will they offer me marketing co-op dollars to drive the sales of their products in my store? Do not be afraid to ask, “What will you do for me?”
          Sales by size by vendor – what sizes do you sell more commonly from each vendor (all sizes are not created equal)
          Vendor performance report – What is the percentage of your PO’s that were filled? What was the sell through of their products?

  2. Set your appointments up ahead of time. Make sure you schedule yourself some breaks so you do not feel frantic and you can keep your head clear. Also ensure you have some time to wander the show to see if there is anything new and exciting that would add to your store assortment!
  3. NEVER write an order on the spot. You want to see everything from all vendors first then write your orders according to your plan. Try bringing a camera to take pictures of the lines if that will help you later when it comes time to write your PO’s.
  4. Use your Open-to-Buy plan to plan your orders by classification once you are in the comfort of your own office – buy only in the areas where your customers are voting for (with their credit cards) not with emotion (we are all guilty of this!)
  5. Write your orders in your POS and send them to your vendors on your PO form with your terms and ship to and cancellation dates.

For help on understanding how to use the retail POS reports available to you, contact us to schedule some training.

Enjoy and have fun!


Kirsten Hynds is a certified Winning@Retail™ consultant at CRS. Kirsten spent 10 years on the sales floor, and as a retail buyer and merchandiser, and has become an expert POS sales consultant and trainer over during her 10 years with CRS.

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