Outdoor Trade Shows

Don’t be the blur: Five tips to make your booth at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market rock

As Outdoor Retailer Summer Market approaches, SNEWS Merchandising Editor Robin Enright provides some last-minute tips on how to stand out at the show.

Outdoor Retailer is a mere week away and judging from the consulting work I am providing for the show, preparation has now entered warp speed in order to be ready for Salt Lake City. While many booths are ready to be shipped, still others are working out the details and are knee deep in merchandising decision-making mode. Whatever category you are in, read along for some last-minute and not-so-last-minute tips to insure super success at the show:

Don’t be the blur:
Be sure you are not falling into the same old, same old, and leaning into the “our products speak for themselves” mode. The sensory stimuli of the trade show environment is chaotic and to drive traffic to your booth, it is wise to determine ahead of time how you intend to stand out. Will it be with a detail like unusual lighting, a product demonstration, a contest, or will you tantalize passers-by with your use of color? There is no one-size-fits-all answer; the key is to know thyself and work your personality and uniqueness.


Power of Props and Display and Lighting and Flooring and Signage, oh my!:
Display is powerful and can pull people to you like bees to honey. The details make all the difference in the strength of your story and foot-slowing potential. For example: Say your niche is climbing. Rather than sweetly displaying your colorful harnesses on slat wall, why not integrate them into a full-blown, detail-rich story? Borrow props and other merchandise from your outdoor partners and sell the experience, not just your products. Even better? Startle us with an unexpected story angle!


Set the retail stage:
Trade shows are an enormous opportunity to guide your retailers in product placement to move your merchandise once it leaves your warehouse and most stores are grateful for whatever help you can toss their way. I know storeowners that carry certain brands over others because the visual merchandising support they receive makes it easier to sell product. You want more SKU’s in more doors? Create a compelling retail shop within your booth and show your buyers why your brand will fly off the shelves once it hits the sales floor.


Create a stir and generate interest:
You don’t have to give away beer or have a wild party at the end of the day to drive traffic to your booth, but generating a stir draws a crowd. Product demonstrations, video, contests, samples, etc. can deepen brand awareness and help you stand out from your neighbor. Don’t be afraid to try something new and risk being remembered long after the show ends.


Smiles welcome:
Here’s the thing: Your product might be ahead of the curve and chock full of innovation, and your visual merchandising might be dialed to stun, but don’t forget to complete the picture by adding people on your front line that know how to invite and motivate interest. That welcoming smile might make all the difference in a borderline sale.

SNEWS Merchandising Editor Robin Enright
is the founder of Merchandising Matters, 
which provides merchandising support to brands, retailers and their agencies.

Reach her via email at 
with questions, ideas and suggestions.