10 Tips for Product Startups to make CES 2019 successful

Since our recent post “Top 10 Mistakes Potential Retail Vendors Make” was a big hit on Linkedin, we thought why not create a post on the top 10 tips for product start-ups to make the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) successful.

Ever since the early 1990s, I have attended CES and have seen the show floor, attendees, and exhibitors evolve over the years. Exhibiting at CES can be (and should be) one of the most productive and cost-effective means for product start-ups to promote its products and services. However, if you go to the show unprepared, you really will be wasting both time and money.

10) Prepare your CES Pitch

It’s important that everybody who is working your booth are “singing from the same hymn book”. Too many times I have heard inconsistent pitches at the various booths.  Create your CES pitch well in advance and make sure your teammates are using it in front of attendees. Also, your pitch or conversation with an attendee should include a call to action such as “I will email you a PDF sales sheet when I get back in the office”.

9) Send Enough Staff to the Show

You are spending a lot of money to exhibit at CES. Don’t skimp by just sending yourself. Having enough people on your team to cover the booth is important for many reasons.  You hate to leave the booth unmanned in order to grab a bite to eat and find out that an important retailer showed up and you were not there. For your associates that will be joining you in the booth, stress the value of friendly greetings, polite manners, and appropriate body language.

8) Set Appointments

For years, I have arranged CES appointments for our clients. Start reaching out to potential retailers as well as the media to nail down important meetings on your CES calendar. That way you will be able to make the most of CES and guarantee success before you even arrive to Las Vegas.  As a reminder, you want to confirm your appointments prior to the show. Inevitably, there will be meetings that will be missed.  You can always reschedule for phone calls or face-to-face meetings after the show.

7) Check out the Competition

CES offers you an ideal opportunity to see not only who your competitors are most aggressively targeting, but the methods they are using to entice these prospects. Find time in your schedule to walk the show and set a goal of coming away with notes on each of your competitors to see not only what they are selling, but how they are doing it.

6) Make your Booth a Fun Place to Visit

CES attendees spend much of their time meeting with exhibitors and attending workshops. By the end of the day, they are likely to be tired overwhelmed by the amount of information they have been given, and easily bored by standard presentations and sales talk. That is why making your booth a fun place to visit can help you stand out from your competition. A laid-back atmosphere will almost surely be a welcome change from the typical CES trade show display. Check out the next two tips to make your booth the place to visit.

5) Offer a Product Demonstration

Product demonstrations are a great way to draw a crowd inside your booth. Make sure your team knows how to give an effective and engaging presentation. Don’t forget to collect those business cards!

4) Have the Perfect Booth Giveaway

Besides product demonstrations, offer a product giveaway is another great way to get people to stop in front of your booth.  We have had our clients, when it’s feasible, offer booth visitors a chance to win one of their new products in exchange for a business card.  If you cannot offer one of your products as a giveaway, offer mints or something small in your booth.

3) Don’t forget those product sales sheets

Many times, attendees will grab a product sales sheet if (a) they don’t have the time right now to stop in your booth or (b) your booth is crowded.  Having product literature with your contact info that attendees can pick up at your booth is a must have. If you have the budget, put all your product sell sheets on a jump-drive to hand out to attendees in order to save room in their bag.

2) Create a Media Kit

Often, members of the press will stop by your booth. Have a jump-drive with your media kit, which should include company information, industry awards, product information, etc.…that you can hand out to select members of the press.

1) Have a Follow-Up Protocol in Place

One of the most frustrating things that happens a lot is when exhibitors forgot to follow up on hot leads, promising prospects, or likely customers.  When I was a large retail buyer, I would hand my business card to exhibitors that I wanted more information from.  Many did not follow up. What a waste of money for those exhibitors who spent thousands of dollars to be at CES!

Cheers to kicking off the new year at CES 2019! Retailbound can’t wait to get a sneak peek of the latest in tech innovation. If you’re interested in meeting with our retail channel management experts at the show, we would love to meet up with you. Book a meeting with our team today.