Getting the Most Out of Trade Shows

How to maximize your time and energy at industry events

So Much to See…So Much to Do…

Trade Show

With two of the pet industry’s biggest trade shows taking place in September (SuperZoo and Groom Expo Hershey), the pet world is buzzing with activity. Trade shows and conventions seem to add more vendors, seminars and activities every year. With so much going on, it can be easy to miss out on something. That’s why we’re devoting this installment of The Ryan’s Report™ to sharing our tips for getting the most out of your trade show experience.

Seminars & Training

Industry trade shows provide great opportunities for perfecting your skills and expanding your knowledge.  There are always tons of great speakers and breakout sessions happening where you can learn new techniques and acquire useful advice.  Be sure to check the event schedule ahead of time to find the sessions that will provide you with the best information and fuel for new ideas.

Ryan’s Tip: Divide and Conquer.  If you are attending a show with colleagues, each of you should attend different classes to maximize your experience.  Take great notes and when you return home plan a session to teach each other what you learned.


Trade shows and conferences usually have an exhibit hall where you can meet directly with manufacturers, customers, and suppliers.  It is a great place to get hands on experience with products and to meet suppliers face to face.  If you are attending Superzoo Ryan’s will have a booth on the trade show floor and we would love to meet you!

Ryan’s Tip:  Plan Your Route.  With so many booths and so many aisles, it can be easy to get distracted while walking the trade show floor.  Review the floor plan and exhibitor list ahead of time to plan your route.  This way you’ll be sure to visit the booths you want (like Ryan’s!) and you can use your extra time to explore and discover new ones.

New Products/Trends

Trade shows are great ways to stay up on new trends and products.  Many of the top pet product suppliers and manufacturers are gathered together and available for you to see, touch and sample new products.  You can speak with company representatives in one-on-one discussions and learn about new products, techniques, and trends.  Stop by Ryan’s booth at Superzoo to see our new line of Perfect Groom® Black Diamond™ Shears.

Ryan’s Tip:  New Product Showcase.  Some trade shows have designated areas where suppliers and manufacturers have their newest products on display. If the trade show you’re attending has a new product showcase, this is a great place to start. Visit the new product showcase first and note the booth numbers for products you are interested in and add them to your route.

Show Specials

Many of the exhibitors will offer special promotions and deals that are only available during the trade show.  This is an excellent opportunity to save on supplies and products for your salon or store.  Ryan’s has a whole flyer full of show specials for Superzoo and Groom Expo Hershey.

Ryan’s Tip:  It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask.  Suppliers often extend show specials after the event.  If you missed ordering at the show and are placing an order when you get home, be sure to ask if there are any show specials that can be applied to your order.

Contests and Showcases

Many of the top professionals are on hand to participate in contests and showcases.  These are exciting because they allow you to watch some of the most highly skilled industry professionals do what they do best.

Ryan’s Tip:  Avoid the Crowd.  Often the contest awards ceremony is one of the most highly attended events.  If you had trouble meeting with a supplier because they were too busy try going back to their booth during the awards ceremony, it is often much less crowded.


With so many like-minded people in one concentrated place, trade shows are terrific places to network with other professionals within your scope of business.  Establishing contacts with suppliers and fostering relationships with your colleagues are some of the benefits you get from attending a trade show.

Ryan’s Tip:  Have Fun.  Attend show sponsored events.  Many are free and offer a fun way to network and relax.


Although trade shows can require a significant time and financial commitment it can be well worth it if you plan ahead and stay organized.

Ryan’s Tip:  Many of the expenses associated with attending trade shows and traveling may be tax deductible. Be sure to save your receipts and check with your tax expert if you have questions.

What are some of your trade show tips?

We want to hear from you – share your tips and join the discussion on Facebook.

Hopefully we will see all of you at the Ryan’s booth at Superzoo!
Visit Us at SuperZoo 2011
Ryan’s Pet Supplies
Booth #: 1619

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