Convenience store trade shows can be a costly investment for manufacturers. Many start-up companies make a risky investment by going to one of these shows. This means that new product guys will have to be impressive in their pitch and their product. Companies with new products will be trying to make their money back from the investment (often times as much as $10,000 for a 10 foot by 10 foot booth for NACS). Depending on the other investments made by the manufacturer the booth could end up costing nearly $15,000 in the end when factoring in staffing, transportation, lodging and other amenities.
Buyers at convenience store trade shows are given goals and objectives. Their goals and objectives usually amount to coming back with something worthwhile to show their managers. Secured appointments, new product lines and publication are all important. Everyone is looking for the next big thing. If a manufacturer believes hard enough in their product they can make an impression on the distributors. Successful companies dive right into the promotion of their product and their passion for it shows. Passion and quality work can sell a product. Presenting the product with pride is the strongest indicator of showing passion for a quality product.
Convenience store trade shows are a way to get a product into convenience stores, or at least hoping, but sometimes simply contacting convenience store distributors gets the same results. Meeting and talking face to face with the distributors may bridge any gaps of miscommunication, but as I have been this industry for over 14 years, I think the biggest success comes down to the right contacts. One need not be a super salesperson if their product works. Often distributors want to see that a company has commitment to a product and to the distribution of the product. Contacting them first through cstoredistributors.com is a great first step. Cstoredistributors.com is a great asset to have and I highly recommend it if you have a product for convenience stores. I would also take a look at checkstandprogram.com and also fmcgexperts.com, but sometimes it takes that little extra push from a trade show meet.