Natural Products Expo West ’23 – the nation’s largest show for the industry – is right around the corner.
Held from March 7-11 at the Anaheim Convention Center, Expo West is the nation’s largest trade show for the natural products industry. There will be close to 3,000 exhibitors and tens of thousands of attendees who want to experience the newest innovations in natural and organic foods and beverages, supplements, ingredients and clean beauty and home products.
Expo West is an invaluable opportunity for emerging brands to attract the attention from foragers/buyers from such retailers as Sprouts, Target and Kroger looking for latest innovative products.
For newcomers, the show may seem overwhelming. Even for Expo West veterans, there are always new ways to get the most out of the show.
New Hope Strategic Business Development Director Tara Burkley provided us with some tips to help you get the most out of the show.
- Do your homework: Invest some time online looking over the exhibitor list, education programme, networking events, and overall schedule in advance.
- Build out a schedule: Look at the exhibitors online. Determine what and who you want to see – key retailers, competitors, etc.. Reach out to key people you want to see to schedule meetings. Your schedule is likely to evolve as the show approaches, so be flexible.
- Take advantage of Events: From educational sessions to networking events, these activties are invaluable opportunities to network with the community. You never know who you’ll meet.
- Be totally present in your booth: whoever is working the booth should be energized, hydrated and ready to interact! A lot of companies slim down and are tired that last day but, I’ve heard countless stories that the exhibitor met their largest retail partner or broker or key person on that last hour of Expo.
- Use Expo West for team bonding… up to a point: We all know how scattered we’ve been over the past two years, often working from home (We’re all sick of Zoom and Google Meet).. So it’s a great chance to reconnect and to have a little fun with your co-workers. But remember you are there to meet others in the industry. tTry not to just stay with your team. Branch out!
- Prioritize your goals: There are many things you want to accomplish but make – brands you want to seek out, networking events you want to attend, educational sessions you want to go to. You have limited time so determine those things that are most important.
- Go to education sessions/key notes/other events: In addition for networking and mingling with the community. You never know who you’ll meet.
- Take Pictures: There is so much to see and you won’t be able to remember everything. You’ll want to look back on all those photos when you return.
- Prepare your sell story; SPINS recommends you Build a tight 30-second sales pitch about your brand and what makes it unique.
- Take Notes: Notice when companies are doing something well and take notes.
- Water bottle: Keep yourself hydrated. The lines can be long to buy bottled water and most trade shows have refill stations.
- Comfortable shoes – You’ll be doing a lot of walking and the hard floors can be tough on your feet.
- Hand sanitizer and a face mask – All trade shows are packed with people and you’ll want to protect yourself as much as possible from Covid and any other viruses. Sanitize your hands regularly.
- Extra batteries and portable chargers – This may sound like a no brainer, but we all have been guilty of forgetting these when we need them most. Trade show days are long and you don’t want your phone to go dead at a key moment. You will be coordinating meetings and taking photos throughout the event.
- Follow up when you get home: Immediately after the event, gather your business cards and contact information and reach out to every contact, thanking them for their time and providing them whatever they requested and adding them to your database for further opt-in messaging and promotion. These are gold – the main reason you’re attending Expo West.
Join New Hope’s online community on Swapcard. So much content and access to industry information. Know your stuff! Be a resource for anyone who you interact with at Expo.