What it’s like at a Products Trade Show & Why You Should Attend

After attending the largest natural products trade show – the Natural Products Expo West – various times here is what I’ve found are important benefits and what the experience is like.

Product Expos are a great place to attend for many different reasons – learning, networking, selling, offering, and so much more.

This post is tailored to the Natural Products Expo West which is one of the largest in the area of organic, natural, and healthy products.

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Discovery in the Show

The most exciting part in could definitely be what you discover at the trade shows.

Oftentimes brands will use a products trade show to launch new products or rebranding that aren’t even offered in the real world yet – and you get to try and witness them!

Secondly, you get to discover companies you’ve never heard of in your industry that may interest you.

You’ll also get to see the people behind brands – or the “vibe” of them if you may. You have the opportunity to speak with them, which leads us to the next point NETWORKING.


An obvious reason to go is networking with the people in your industry.

Making connections with companies can go a long way in the future and can surely be helpful along the way. Some say networking is one of the most important things in becoming successful.

You’ll get to pitch your company and see how others pitch theirs at the trade show.

Through this you will also be getting your company‘s name out into the world more, especially in your industry.

The networking done at trade shows includes the sellers in your sector and potential customer and suppliers. Some are fortunate enough to even make some deals at a trade show. The people at these shows are all specific people that have received access to the event, so most of them will be somewhat in your sector.

What People Wear

What do I possibly wear to a products trade show? You may be asking yourself.

Let me tell you, you will find absolutely every type of outfit here. From a full-on suit and tie to jeans and a shirt. Therefore, what you wear is really up to you and your goals there.

But if you want reassurance check general photos on Google of the show since your show could differ. Do note this is a professional experience so dress appropriately.

My main tip though is don’t underestimate the amount of walking you may be doing, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. It may also be quite crowded so be wary of wearing too warm of clothing.

Observing Competition

Observing your competition is a huge benefit of attending a trade show.

You can even get inspiration and the latest trends to implement back into your business. I know I was rambling on excitedly about new ideas while walking the isles of the show.

You may be surrounded by everything from newly established companies in your sector to the top ones.

One of the most interesting parts of them is learning all the new trends and themes. In the 2022 Natural Products Expo West, it felt like 90% of the exhibitors were plant based, gluten free, or keto.


Sampling Products

Ah, the fun times. There is so much to sample at the Natural Products Expo that I never buy lunch – it is primarily foods products after all. There were even food trucks outside that sampled pizza and sandwiches. Of course, the samples are mainly smaller portions.

In all seriousness though, the sampling is important to get on the spot impressions of the company you’re networking with or learning from.

Apart from the on-the-spot sampling, there may be plenty of samples given out that are fully packaged. That means you can take them home. Oftentimes these will also be full-sized products you just get to take. Be sure to grab the bags offered to easily carry them around.

Related: 5 Best Gluten Free & Celiac Friendly Eateries in San Diego

How to Come Prepared

For whatever reason you are there, here are some must-haves:

  • Business card. After networking, leaving a card is an easy way to keep in contact. People also sometimes ask for them, so it’s a professional item to include in your bag.
  • Walking shoes. You may be walking for hours. Enough said.
  • Know your business pitch & about. “What’s your business?” “What do you do?” “How can we work together?” are just some of the things you may be asked when approaching a stand or networking. Know your business inside and out, but remember the exhibitors may have talked and stood for hours or even for days so keep it brief and to the point.
  • Know your goal. These places can be exhausting and confusingly large. Knowing what exhibtors are important for you to approach, the event program, and any goals you have can optimize your time there.

So, you learn a lot from coming to a products trade show – and no not just how to walk for 8 hours straight. Whether that be how to network, insights from successful brands, or even taking steps towards building your own brand.

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