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So, You’re Attending An eCommerce Industry Event: 3 Expo Survival Tips

Difficult second albums. Disappointing films with excellent trailers. The pizza you inexplicably chose instead of your regular order. So many promising things fail to live up to the hype. Industry events shouldn’t fall into this category. Today, we look at three ways to ensure your expo experience lives up to all your stary-eyed expectations.

Audience raising their hands

Pick Your Battles

The eCommerce events industry is a crowded market. The season typically runs in a series of two distinct peaks and troughs. Things kick off in early Spring, die down in the summer months (hello childcare commitments.) They then grind back into action from September, before wrapping up in time for the busy BFCM / holiday season.

Across these busy periods, you have literally hundreds of events to choose from. Don’t stick a pin in a calendar and hope for the best. Ask yourself what you’re actually looking to get from attendance or participation and use this to strategically plan the best return on your investment.

There are many reasons you might choose to take part in an event.

  • Gain new industry contacts.
  • Obtain qualified business leads.
  • Educate yourself on the latest industry developments.
  • Reconnect with existing industry contacts.
  • Investigate the possibility of new partnerships.
  • Promote your brand, product or service more widely.
  • Scope out competitors.
  • Establish yourself as a thought leader by delivering content.

Of course, all of these sound appealing – but make your objectives achievable; pick two goals and keep your focus on them strong.

Go in without a clear game plan and before you know it, the event will be over and you’ll be left with nothing but a handful of business cards for services you don’t need, and a mild dehydration headache.

Block Out Your Time

Time has a funny way of behaving at conferences and expos; stretching out sessions that feel endless, or flashing past in a blur, as you struggle to complete your booth build ahead of hall shut down. You’re probably staying up late, eating at weird times, missing out on your typical daily rituals. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that because your regular schedule has gone out of the window, your productivity has to suffer too.

Get dorky about your calendar, and block out your days. This should start well in advance of the event itself. Here are some steps to consider, which you can base around the objectives you’ve decided you’ll be focusing on.

Book in meetings with potential partners

Arrange these well in advance. Schedule these as early in the day as possible.

Make a realistic assessment of the content on offer.

Better to pick a smaller number of sessions and give them your full attention. We can only absorb so much in a day, and most talks are filmed anyway.

Schedule some time to get outside.

Reset with some natural light and acoustics. Expo hall atmospheres can be notoriously grim.

Block out time to eat and drink, properly.

It’s so easy to zombie shuffle your way through to cocktail hour and then wonder why that first weak beer has hit you for six.

Set a limit on the time you’ll spend exploring the expo area.

Short bursts of focused activity and conversation are best. It’s easy to start

Pack These Three Things

Travel as lightly as you can; avoid the coat check queue at all costs. These three items are genuinely worth the bag space.

  • Powerpack for your mobile device. Power points are at a premium and your producer won’t thank you for leaving phones charging around your booth space if you have one.
  • Reusable water bottle. Good for the planet, better for your wallet. Captive audience expo pricing is extortionate. Don’t be that sucker buying £2.50 water all day.
  • Hand sanitiser. Conferences bring people with various strains of cold from all over the country together and encourage them to shake hands. A few surreptitious squirts of anti-bac can save you from the hell of what’s effectively Freshers’ Flu.

Attending eCommerce Expo this month? So are blubolt. Block a bit of your precious time out to come meet us on our booth! Just drop us an email and let us know when you’ll be available, and we’ll be happy to schedule time, either with our Creative Director and CoFounder, Chris – or our COO, Leigh.

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