Pre-Show Top 5 Checklist: How to prepare for retail’s biggest trade shows

The holiday season is over and that means back to work. If you’re in retail, you know that also means event season is upon us beginning with CES (January 6th - 9th) and NRF (January 17-19th).

Event season kicks off this week and, if you are like us, you are either knee deep in planning or currently on your way to Las Vegas. Whether you are an exhibitor or an attendee, preparing for these events can be stressful, especially if you forget some of the necessities. 

To help your prepare, we thought we would throw a quick pre-show checklist together to ensure you have everything you need once you get to these shows.

Pre-Show Top 5 Checklist

Business Cards

Personally, I always think I take more than enough business cards until I get to the show and I’m about 3 hours in and run out. So take what your think you need and then triple it.

Mobile Battery

Even though you are at the event, you know you need to stay connected, but being on the show floor doesn’t really lend itself to easy access to an outlet. So take the leap and buy one of those mobile batteries and stay connected till you can find the next outlet or charging station. 

International Cellphone Plan

If you’re traveling out-of-country as I often am, after every show I say to myself, Next time I’m going to get an international roaming plan”, since, as we all know, tradeshow Wi-Fi isn’t the best. There is nothing worse than losing service. So this year, take your own advice or in this case, mine, and get that plan so you can stay connected.

Map of the Event or Event Mobile App 

Both CES and NRF are massive event centers with entrances everywhere. Once you make it inside you feel like you have entered the Labyrinth. So when they offer you the paper map take it. Or better yet, if you sprung for that international roaming plan, get the event app. It just may save your life or at least help you navigate the show

Once you have the map or the mobile app, there a 3 things to do:

  1. Identify the coffee stand – you’re going to need it.
  2. Identify the bathroom – after that coffee, this is likely your next stop…
  3. Use that map to identify and plan out the must see booths, (iQmetrix booth 4335 at NRF) and sessions to ensure you get what you want out of the show.

Solidify Evening Plans

Finally, once the show is over make sure you take some time to take in the local fare. Be it Broadway shows at NRF, the craps table at, well anywhere in Vegas, it’s always a good idea to see what’s going on outside the event to get away to recharge and take advantage of your time.

If there is anything we are missing (which I am sure there is) let us know in the comments below!