Will You Ever Go to an In-Person Trade Show Again?
The last trade show your Uncle Goose attended was in January 2020. We went to New York, and showed our toys at Shoppe Object.
Shoppe Object is a curated Home and Gift Show. It was our first time there, and we really enjoyed it. We made some good connections and looked forward to returning in the autumn.
Naturally, Shoppe Object canceled their fall trade show last year. We completely understand. And still, we look forward to returning to New York when it’s safe to do so.
Your Uncle Goose has also exhibited at the annual gift show at the Javits Center. Like other trade shows we attend, this large annual event is cancelled in 2021.
On their website, the show's coordinators say they don’t plan to host the event until 2022. But it’s got your Uncle Goose wondering:
Will we ever attend a trade show again? Will you?
We like to think so. Our toys are fun to look at, but they’re also tactile. Buyers can get a sense of what our toys look like from online photos and videos: but they can’t get that tactile sensation through a computer screen.
There’s also that sense of smell that gets people talking. Many will come by the booth and mention that they smell the wood, and that it smells like…
Smell can evoke powerful memories. Looking, touching, and smelling our toys gives buyers a certain joy. They smile and tell us stories.
It’s heartwarming to see a grown adult’s face transform into childlike wonder. That's what experiencing our blocks first-hand can do.
And of course, your Uncle Goose likes getting away from the Michigan peninsula and out into the world. We like meeting people and surrounding ourselves with fresh ideas. We love the food, the travel, the experiences — your Uncle Goose loves the whole trade show vibe.
But will any of us attend trade shows again?
After all, our established buyers are still placing online orders. For that, we’re grateful. But does this mean that buyers now realize they don’t need to go to shows?
And what about young, new buyers we have yet to meet in person? We’ve heard that many buyers now prefer online transactions. At this point, it’s certainly safer than a face-to-face transaction.
Online sales are also faster and more cost effective than face-to-face. We can appreciate that. When the finance department looks to cut costs: will trade shows survive?
We hope so.
How can buyers get a more complete sense of the Uncle Goose story from a mere website? We write and post about our values. We show photos and videos.
We talk about crafting 100% USA-made products from sustainable basswood. About using non-toxic, mouth safe inks. About caring for people, education, and the environment.
But how can a buyer feel the craft and care we put into Uncle Goose blocks without touching them? Or without deeply inhaling and smelling their inherent goodness?
For now, we’re planning to return to trade shows when it’s safe to do so. We’ve put a deposit down on the Shoppe Object trade show.
When will trade shows return? Who knows? We’ll wait and see with hope.
But what about you and your industry? How are you feeling about trade shows? Are you hoping they’ll return, or are you satisfied to move forward with an online-only experience?