5 Goals Brands should set for Fashion Trade Shows

Setting goals for a trade show visit

It’s one thing to simply attend a fashion trade show, and it’s another to walk away feeling like you’ve had a successful and productive trip. To help know whether you’ve been successful or not — I suggest setting goals that you can follow up on once the madness that is “trade show season” has passed.

The #1 question you’ll no doubt be asking at the end of each season is “will I attend the same trade show again?” To justify your decision (either to yourself or your boss) it is important to establish objectives. What are your specific goals when attending a trade show? Most brands set these goals beforehand while reserving their booth or buying their tickets to the show. So as to justify the expenses, they make a plan of what they will get out of the visit.

If this is new to you — no worries! We asked a number of brands and retailers to share the goals that they set for themselves when visiting a fashion trade show and I’ve got the top 5 responses to share!

The FashionTrade Five:

1. Advance The Selling Process

Most often we hear that a brands top goal is to sell or to advance the selling or buying process. In reality, this means meeting with retailers that you have spoken to on the phone or via email, to dive deeper into details about the upcoming collection or even conditions of business. Taking business from online to offline is a great way to secure a working relationship and establish a commitment from partners. It’s a brands time to shine!

2. Showcase Your Product

Most brands see the trade show simply as a way of showcasing or presenting their products to customers. Next to their physical showroom, online shop and maybe even presence in other retail stores both on- and offline, their booth at the trade show allows them to demonstrate their products to existing customers and potential new buyers. Don’t just be present though — stand out from the crowd! Whether it’s the main backdrop image you select, the drinks you serve or the music you play; it’s all in the details. Display your companies brand strengths and don’t forget to create a space retailers will be drawn into.

3. Secure New Partnerships

Showcasing and selling to existing partners is just one piece of the trade show pie. We think that visiting a fashion trade show can enable Brands to search for and secure new partnerships. These partnerships can be with other designers working on a joint collection but also with suppliers and other service partners like logistics, PR firms, marketing agencies specialised in the fashion sector. Step outside the bubble of brand to retailer and look to educate yourself in new areas of relevant business. If you just can’t find the time at the trade shows, don’t forget you can always do this online with FashionTrade.com!

4. Gather Information

In our experience, the fourth goal to achieve is gathering information about your market and your competitors. What is going on out there? What can you learn? What are you doing well and what should be improved? At trade shows you get a great cross section of the market in one place — even if you just manage to pick up a few business cards and take a few inspirational photos, taking this information back to your desk post-trade show will allow you to follow up with a more in depth analysis.

5. Press Coverage

Last but not least, a trade show visit is always a good way to gather press coverage. Getting your brand or store featured in the (local) media can be a great identifier for many new partnerships to stem from. Just how can you stand out? Start by identifying the journalists that will be present (most trade show organisers release a list for you to download) and relevant to you, then contact them and craft a good story for them. Plan a trade show interview, show them your product and don’t forget to follow up!

These are our top 5 goals to set at a fashion trade show — of course there are many more and every one has their own agenda so we encourage you to think outside the box. For you, the goal might be to hire new personnel or to gain personal exposure for you through speaking at a conference. There are many more ways to make the most of the trade show visit and feel free to share yours with us in the comments!

Was I Successful?

Now that you have (at least) 5 goals set for your trade show visit, it is time to think about how to measure them. We suggest some of the following metrics:

  • Number of meetings
  • Number of leads
  • Orders placed via existing customers
  • Market research trends
  • Employee recruitment
  • Improved supplier relationships

If you went out to increase sales, you should quantify your goal in € by investigating sales volume directly generated via a trade show visit. If you are there to establish partnerships with new suppliers, then you should take some time (we suggest three months) to evaluate your performance with the new supplier vs. the performance with your previous supplier before the trade show. Depending on the goals you have set for yourself, you will find the right metric to aid your evaluation efforts.


Let us know how the past trade show seasons went for you in the comments below. What did you expect and what did you achieve? How do you set your goals and measure them?

If we can help you with more information, or you’re interested in learning more about FashionTrade.com, don’t hesitate to visit our website and drop us an email!

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