You’ve prepped and polished your pitch. You’ve got products to share and sample. And you even practiced your fist and elbow bumps to present your brand with just the right amount of cheer and confidence while networking. Now it’s time to shine at the tradeshow and show retail buyers why your product is exactly what they need for their store’s lineup.

But wait a second…

Where are all the buyers?

Unfortunately for many tradeshows of late, attendance hasn’t climbed back up to the levels it once was pre-2020. COVID-19 has many people staying home and attending shows virtually—when it’s an option—as many are still hesitant to gather, and new variants are hampering plans left and right. More recently, last-minute buyer dropouts have frustrated suppliers, because while the ongoing pandemic has changed the way we live and do business, new product discovery is still an essential component of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry.

So, while the retail buyers you were hoping to connect with may not all be in attendance at the same shows you are, brands still have a chance to meet and greet (and potentially make a deal).

Here are some ways your brand can prepare for—and follow up with—buyers who aren’t attending in-person tradeshows.

Take your brand online

If buyers aren’t going to be at the same show, brands need to meet them where they will be. And that, in many cases, is online. But as we all know, “online” is a big place, so to narrow it down, start by leveraging your social media channels. Whichever platform(s) you are on, make it well known that you’ll be at an upcoming trade show, and make sure to use appropriate hashtags which are often found on the show’s social pages. During the show, buyers who are not in attendance will search these hashtags so they can stay up to date on what’s happening and will be looking at the show’s social media channels, which will undoubtedly be posting updates and (ideally) photos or videos of suppliers and their products. And if you’re on RangeMe, we love to feature brands attending the trade shows our team will be at, so make sure to stop by our booths or tag us on socials!

Update your RangeMe profile

You’re on RangeMe for a reason (and if you’re not, join us!), and a big reason for many suppliers is having all of the information retail buyers want from a brand in one spot. That information is what can push your brand to the top of a buyer’s Dashboard, which is where they are matched with products that fit the specific criteria they’ve selected. You can also use your RangeMe profile to let buyers know which tradeshows you’ll be at by adding them to your Brand page, or even on your cover image.

And don’t forget to leverage your digital sell sheet! Make sure that all the information on your profile and sell sheet is recent and tailored to the audience of a particular tradeshow. You can also share your information with any prospective buyers by either sharing your profile via a unique link or through an autogenerated email. When sharing your profile, include language that encourages buyers to reach out, for example, “In case we don’t see you at [fill in the tradeshow you’ll be attending]…” Below is an example of what the autogenerated email would look like:

email template with sell sheet
Example of a generated email:

In-person is still Im-portant

While many retail buyers won’t be attending shows in person, some will be. For those buyers you will be able to meet in real life rather than face-to-face via your preferred video conferencing app, two words: Be prepared. Have your printed sell sheets up to date, your brand story ready to share, and smile (even behind the mask!). While so many connections have been made online over the past two years, meeting buyers in person remains a valuable way to get your brand recognized and pique buyers’ interest. Smaller shows aren’t a bad thing; rather, it can be an excellent opportunity for suppliers to receive more quality one-on-one time with retail buyers. It’s also a good opportunity to share your RangeMe profiles with retail buyers you meet in person, as it’s an easy way for them to see all of your information in one place, and follow up with you post-show.

Suppliers on RangeMe, if you are attending shows with us in the future, be sure to pick up your booth tent to let buyers know that they can find you on RangeMe.

We can’t wait to see you!

Want to learn more about how RangeMe can help you connect with retail buyers around the globe? Meet up with us IRL at Natural Products Expo West from March 9th-12th at the Anaheim, CA Convention Center. We’ll be at booth #2626 in the following halls:

ACC North Halls | March 9-11, 2022

ACC Halls A-E & Arena | March 10-12, 2022

We can’t wait to meet you!