It’s hard to believe, but Expo West 2023 is right around the corner. Between March 7-11th, the Anaheim Convention Center will be filled with close to 50K attendees, including retailers like Target, Sprouts and Kroger. They all are looking for the hottest innovations in natural and organic foods and beverages; clean beauty and home products; and supplements and ingredients.
For brands who have never been to the nation’s largest natural foods trade show, Expo West can be overwhelming. Even show veterans can do things to enhance their experience.
Tara Burkley, Strategic Business Development Director at New Hope Natural Media, shared some top tips tips to maximize your time at 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 the full calendar of events: From educational sessions to networking events to parties, these activities 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.
Come Visit the SKU Booth!
For the first time in SKU’s history, we will have a booth at ExpoWest (#2484). The booth provides the opportunity to showcase SKU brands as well as the chance to meet with the SKU Crew.
Are you a Minority and/or Women-owned brand interested in meeting with Vendor Development Team MVD Team? The team will be meeting with brands at Target Expo West during pre-assigned times between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. March 9 and 10 at Hilton Hotel, Carmel Room Level 4.
Please fill out the Supplier Intake Form with your business’ current capability information. Target will leverage the information provided in the intake to set up meetings with potential businesses/brands to discuss opportunities. Fill out the intake form here.
Target is dedicated to providing its time and resources to cultivating connections to drive equitable change in the retail industry. The MVD is seeking to connect with mass retail ready Minority and Women-owned brands to help guide these products through the ecosystem towards business success.
Are you an exciting emerging brand looking to get into Sprouts Farmers Market – the fastest-growing retailer in the nation? The retailer will be hosting an Expo West Foraging Event from 11:30-1:30 PT March 9 at the Anaheim Hilton, room California B.
If you’re interested, email email@example.com. The Subject line must read “Expo West 2023 Sprouts Farmers Market Foraging Event.
The body of the of email must include: Preferred 30-min timeslot (11:30-12, 12-12:30, 12:30-1 or 1-1:30)
Department and category your product will be sold, e.g., Grocery – Bake, Body Care – Body Lotion, Dairy – Fluid Milk, etc.
Attach a 1-page sales sheet the name of the presenter. The registration deadline is 6 p.m. CT, Feb. 27th.
Sprouts email confirmation will be needed to attend.
As part of Kroger’s Natural and Organic Innovation program, Kroger is hosting its first Kroger Pitch event at Expo West. Brands are invited to present your products as the retailer looks to bring in the exciting, unique, innovative natural and organic items – both food and non-food – into its stores and online.
The event, sponsored by PearlRock Partners, will be held from 8:30-10 a.m. PT, March 9 at the Marriott Hotel, Platinum Rooms 7 and 8.
Plan to arrive at Platinum Room 7 in the Anaheim Marriott hotel no earlier than 7:45 am to sign in at the registration table and receive a time of your meeting to take place between 8:30-10 AM. Please be prepared to wait for your meeting time for up to two hours. Kroger will try our best to accommodate all that come to connect with us, but it is a first-come, first-serve opportunity.