ASK CLIVE – With Merchandise World almost upon us, Clive Allcott explains what a great trade show can do for you

Summer has been in full swing, but the first of autumn’s major trade shows, Merchandise World, will have been occupying suppliers. With many registered it looks like the event will be a popular attraction offering promotional supply solutions under one roof at the new Farnborough International venue. Trade shows are multifaceted because they allow you a chance to hear from leading experts, meet with potential supply partners, and see all the new product on the market. If you are specifically looking for a new garment supplier and decorator make sure you come to the show prepared. Organise and set up appointments with the proposed supplier. There is an appointment diary running with most suppliers.

Simply go to the Merchandise World website, find the visitors tab, and book your appointments. It is helpful if you bring along what your current spend is on promotional clothing and how it is split between embroidery and print. If it is heavily focused on print, then make sure the prospective new supplier is an expert in screen/ transfer and DTG printing.

If you have requirements for a live quotation, bring the details and artwork with you so that you can discuss the project and gain a possible quotation. Ask what memberships and certification suppliers have. Are they a SEDEX member and have they had a SMETA audit (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit)? What are their ISO certifications? Are they a BPMA member? This collective information will not only give you confidence in your prospective supplier but will endorse and enhance your supply chain. A positive working partnership with your supplier will make you a better distributor. Ask what support you can expect going forward?

What is the average speed of quote time? Will you work with a dedicated account manager? What bespoke options do you offer? What other branding solutions do you offer such as relabelling, Zip pulls, rubber badging, laser engraving, and so on. There’s never a better chance to ask the questions that matter than when somebody is right in front of you. Don’t pass up the opportunity to confirm if this is the right supplier for your business.

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