Wholesale Trade Shows and Expos: Why Attend or Exhibit There

Nick Mirev
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    Attending trade shows and expos has been an important part of B2B omnichannel marketing for many years. A lot of companies use these events as a way to strike new B2B sales. Trade shows and expos are also part of DTC marketing. They give exhibitors a chance to showcase new products, services, and innovations. There are expos in all niche markets. Virtually all corporate events are visited by wholesalers who aim to find new customers or search for potential partnerships with other businesses. Whether you’re a produce distributor or sell wholesale dairy products, there are a number of events you can visit. Some wholesale trade shows are attended primarily by local businesses while others are international and gather crowds from all over the world.

    Key takeaway: The main benefit of exhibiting at trade shows as a wholesaler is that it gives you the chance to find new customers, check the competition, and network with other businesses. Attending trade fairs is also a great way to find new partners and discover the trends in the field.
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    Benefits of Attending Wholesale Trade Shows

    There are multiple reasons for professionals to attend and benefits to exhibit at corporate events. Let’s examine some of them.

    Why People Attend Wholesale Trade Shows and Fairs

    1. Networking and relationship building. During wholesale trade shows, attendees and exhibitors can improve their relationships through networking. This can be done during panels or even in a casual setting such as during lunch. Professionals in both B2B and B2C sectors can benefit from exchanging ideas and advice with each other.
    2. Finding new vendors. It’s no surprise that trade fairs are a common B2B distributor marketing channel. Attendees often visit these events if they’re looking for new suppliers.
    3. Exploring innovations. Businesses often showcase their latest innovations or announce new products during wholesale trade shows. That’s why attendees have the chance to see innovations even before they have hit the market.
    4. Checking the competition. Some businesses might take part in wholesale trade shows both as exhibitors and attendees. Whether you’re in the food and beverage industry or another niche, these events can be an opportunity to check your competitors in the sector.

    Why Businesses Exhibit at Wholesale Trade Shows and Fairs

    1. Relationship building. Networking plays a major role in trade fairs and expos. Reputable C-level managers share their insights during talks and industry experts have the chance to exchange ideas with other professionals. 
    2. Find new customers. A trade fair or an expo is a chance to meet with tens of thousands of potential customers. These events are attended by professionals from all over the country and international visitors as well. Thus, B2B wholesale distributors have a strong incentive to visit reputable wholesale trade shows in their industry.
    3. Showcase new products and services. Even if you have the best products and services, the world has to know about them through marketing. That’s why distributors and manufacturers often show new product lines and services at wholesale trade shows.
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    Popular Wholesale Trade Shows

    Thousands of trade shows, fairs, and expos take place every year. Naturally, a business can’t attend all of them. It is much better to attend a handful of trade fairs in your specific sector. Furthermore, exhibiting or attending shows should be done based on a business’s goals. For example, software companies might attend trade fairs in the restaurant industry if they have developed new software for the hospitality sector. Let’s check some examples of wholesale trade shows and expos.

    ASD Market Week

    From apparel and accessories to toys and home décor, ASD Market Week is one of the biggest trade shows for consumer merchandise in the US. It attracts thousands of vendors who wish to showcase their product lines. Attendees of the ASD Market Week include representatives of small and big brick-and-mortar and eCommerce retailers.

    Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows

    The Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows are two events with a decade-long history. They are among the biggest trade shows for specialty foods. Exhibitors and attendees of these events include distributors, retailers, catering businesses, restaurant and hospitality groups, supermarkets, and others.

    IPPE Expo

    The International Production and Processing Expo is one of the world's largest annual events in the eggs, meat, poultry, and feed manufacturing sectors. It gathers researchers and suppliers of solutions and technologies in the animal food and protein industries. More than a thousand exhibitors showcase their products and services at the expo every year.

    NRF: Retail's BIG Show

    This is the flagship event of the National Retail Federation (NRF). It gathers vendors and retailers under one roof to network and exchange information about the latest trends in the sector. From inventory management software providers to data analytics companies, various businesses that offer solutions for the retail sector also exhibit at this expo.

    Other Trade Shows

    There are hundreds of trade shows that wholesalers and other businesses can visit. Make sure you stay in touch with the trends in the industry by attending popular expos in your sector. These events can be the difference between falling behind and staying ahead of the competition.

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    Frequently Asked Questions about Wholesale Trade Shows

    BlueCart helps wholesalers automate various tasks, streamline different business processes, and improve their customer service. Our team is also dedicated to sharing useful information with experts in the hospitality and wholesale industries. Find out the answers to some popular questions regarding trade fairs.

    How to Prepare for an Exhibition?

    The main thing to do when preparing for a wholesale trade show is to figure out your goals for this event. Are you an exhibitor looking to showcase products and services to new clients? Or maybe you’re attending to find suppliers or the latest trends? Either way, you need to set your goals and follow them during the event. Here are a few additional tips on preparing for a trade show.

    1. Prepare your products or services. If you’re planning new product launches, you might want to speed them up before the expo;
    2. Prepare your team;
    3. Research the audience and the exhibitors;
    4. Design your booth properly;
    5. Create a marketing plan and prepare various promotional materials;

    What's the Difference Between a Wholesale Trade Show and an Expo?

    The terms expo, exhibition, trade show, and trade fair are often used interchangeably. However, there are differences between these events and it’s important for attendees and exhibitors to know them. Let’s briefly examine them.

    • Trade shows. These events are attended not only by professionals in the sector but also by the general public.
    • Trade fairs. They are very similar to trade shows. The main difference is that trade fairs have no public access. They are a more targeted option for new B2B sales or partnerships.
    • Expos. These events are among the largest D2C events in the business world. They allow businesses to showcase their products and services to a bigger audience. They are a preferred type of marketplace for many brands.
    • Exhibitions. They are often part of trade shows, fairs, and expos. Exhibitions are largely focused on brand awareness and exposure rather than sales.

    What Are Virtual Trade Shows?

    Virtual trade fairs and conferences are business events that are held online. They have similar benefits compared to in-person ones but can be attended simply by logging in. The popularity of online or virtual trade shows has increased immensely after the pandemic. These events allow exhibitors to showcase their goods and services without the need to travel thousands of miles. Attendees can chat with business representatives from the comfort of their homes and offices.

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