Is this your first time attending ASD Market Week? In that case, we’ve got you covered. We know your store is your baby so we’ve developed this quick and easy guide to help minimize the overwhelm — and ensure that you conquer ASD like a pro (or at least a 2nd-timer). Consider this your first-time buyer orientation.
This March 19th to March 22nd, ASD Market Week (a.k.a. your Affordable Shopping Destination) takes over the Las Vegas Convention Center, with nine shows in one, ready to greet 45,000 buyers like yourself (we’re talking almost 90 countries!). We know, it’s kind of mind-blowing.
We don’t need to convince you of why you need to attend ASD Market Week, as you’re already attending (you do have your badge, right?). Here’s a quick rundown for you, though: 2,600 vendors, thousands of affordable products, low prices = high margins for you). To get you even more excited as a beginner, check out this short clip.
Knowing the lay of the land and what to expect once you first set foot in the Convention Center will help you take on ASD like nobody’s business — but your own!
Let’s Do This: Orientation for 1st Time Buyers Attending ASD
To ensure you’re fully prepared, we spoke with Mercedes Gonzalez, Director of Global Purchasing Companies, about the five expert tips for mastering ASD Market Week — so first-timers, listen up. After all, knowing what to expect is half the battle.
But first, a word about Mercedes Gonzalez: she hosts a free step-by-step “Orientation for Buyers New to ASD Market Week,” Sunday and Monday at 8AM in Room N245.
It can be a whirlwind of merchandise and information, and the days can pass like a blur.
So let’s parachute in:
5 First-Timer Tips For Mastering ASD Market Week
#1- Prepare for the unexpected. Shop multiple categories.
ASD is a wonderful place to discover new product categories and margin builders. After all, with nine shows in one — the world of trade show products is your oyster!
- Gift + Home Accents
- Beauty + Fragrance
- Fashion + Accessories
- Souvenir & Novelty (Includes Sports & Character Licensed Products)
- General Store (& Closeouts Too)
- Convenience Store
- Cash + Carry (Includes Jewelry and Gifts To Go)
- Culture+ (a newly rebranded alternative products section)
- SourceDirect At ASD – meet factory reps from all over the world
INSIDER’S TIP: Be sure to download the ASD trade show mobile app so that you have all you need in the palm of your hand on-site! Also – and follow ASD on Instagram here for trending products and free seminar updates all day every day throughout the show!
Gonzalez reminds buyers to “Leave some budget open for surprise items and margin builders you might find.” And make sure to walk through all the shows and sections, as you will definitely find some profit-making gems to introduce to your target clientele.
(Oh, and speaking of a budget: bring along some cash, as you can find treasures at the Cash + Carry section.)
A note on “Crossover Buying” (hint: it’s essential to growing sales)
Go into the show with an open mind. “Crossover Merchandising” is a great way to test and add some new “crossover” categories to your existing product assortment.
This means buying from multiple categories according to a “lifestyle” strategy – this will open your shop up to vastly increased sales opportunities – and keep your customer in-store instead of going to several to get everything they want (or need).
Not sure where to begin? Let us do the vendor matching for you, with our Matchmaking Service.
#2- Train and prepare for a lot of walking.
PSA: The convention center is massive and spans approximately 700,000 sq ft of vendor space. And if you want to ensure you make it to each section, you’ll need to be prepared for some serious walking.
Gonzalez puts it this way: “Walk a few miles every day the week before the show (not joking!). ASD is a huge show and you want to be in ‘walk ready’ shape to make the most of your trip.”
(The good news: you can skip the gym at your hotel, as you’ll be doing enough exercise at the show alone. So pack a Fitbit or set your phone to “track your steps” — you’ll be amazed!)
And as obvious as this sounds, make sure to pack comfortable footwear. Speaking of shoes, read The Insider’s latest on trending fashion and accessories here.
#3 – Prepare to take photos (with permission) and notes.
Since the show and all those products on display can become a mishmash, prepare to take pics and notes of everything that catches your eye.
Important Disclaimer: Before snapping any pics, you must ask the vendor for permission. This is imperative; taking photos without asking a vendor is a no-no.
Bring along a notebook and pen to take clear notes of the products you’re interested in, or jot down the info in your phone’s “Notes” tool. You can also “save” vendor notes in the ASD mobile app and search by product, vendor name, and booth number.
And whatever you’re taking note of, remember to ask the exhibitors for a business card and catalogs – and mark down their booth number (which you can later look up in our Exhibitor Directory on the app!).
#4- Remember to take breaks (i.e. “baby yourself”).
So much to see, so little time. As much as you might feel tempted to tackle all the show floors and take it all in at once, Gonzalez warns about developing “buyer’s blindness,” wherein everything starts to blend in together and become a blur.
Make time for sitting breaks at the buyers’ lounges located throughout the show floor — even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes!
This is also a great opportunity to gather all the business cards you’ve collected and take note of any other info you didn’t manage to jot down while at the vendor booth. You’ll be grateful you did, and you’ll also be more productive during the rest of the show as a result!
Which leads us to…
#5- Schedule Time to Take In Some Top-Tier Educational Sessions — They’re Free!
A huge perk at ASD Market Week is the slew of free small business workshops and information sessions taking place all day, every day throughout the show. Over 90 in all!
There are free retail strategy sessions all day in conference rooms right next to the trade show floor as well as well short, snackable talks hosted by the Independent Retailer Conference as you enter the main Central Hall Lobby.
Catch seminars on everything from Amazon selling, retail marketing tactics and sessions devoted to driving traffic to your brick and mortar store or e-commerce site.
This cannot be stressed enough: these workshops are a must-visit for both first-timers and frequent attendees alike!
As a final tip, Gonzalez offers up this reminder: “Most importantly: have some fun and remember to network with other retailers.”
Chatting with fellow buyers is a great way to expand your horizons, learn from one another, and maybe even create some partnerships or allies down the road.
Read even more valuable trade show prep tips here: Check out our 5 Ways To Prep For the Show.)
Retail Veterans of ASD Weigh in…on How They Shop ASD
ASD is just around the corner! Got your badge? Great! Book a deeply discounted Vegas hotel here. Otherwise, do you need to find trending, high-margin products for your shop? Join us at ASD Market Week in Las Vegas and select from over 2,600 vendors at the largest lifestyle accessories and general merchandise trade show in the U.S.! Get your free buyer’s badge to ASD here.