Whatever shows you go to, be they in the UK or abroad, there is no substitute for preparation in terms of knowing from your sales and market research the ranges you want to update/replace and the types of fresh new product you need to invigorate your offer.
Before you head to a show, it is worth looking at who is exhibiting - not because they are the only publishers you will, see far from it. I would suggest you need to identify which halls you need to walk and then to walk them aisle by aisle, all the while knowing where key exhibitors are so that when you get to their aisle you make time to view their ranges. This is particularly important if you are going to a large fair like Spring Fair (NEC in February) where you may be tight on time and/or have a lot of floor area to cover. A plan of which halls you are going to work in each day is really important so that you are not just backwards and forwards across the site - particularly if you want to arrange some meetings as well.
New and different shows are invaluable because they make you view things differently and consider new options. I still maintain that you only need to find 1 or 2 great products or ranges to make a trip worthwhile but if you are going to go abroad the exhibition must make sense for the type of product you are looking for. You also need to know you have the infrastructure in place to import the product so you can buy something if you want to and that you can afford their minimum order quantities or courier charges - not just for your 1st order but for your top up orders if some of the lines are successful.
I’m off to Top Drawer tomorrow, and will be blogging on what I find there next week!