Have you started planning for your trip to Glee?
This year’s Glee (June 28th – 30th) is set to be bigger and better, with hundreds of garden and leisure brands coming together under one roof for a jam-packed three days. Buyers across the industry have the new date in their diary and know this year’s show is the place to be to network, see the latest launches and seek out exciting innovation and new trends. But, with so much on offer in such a short space of time, have you started putting a plan in place to make sure you shop the show effectively and don’t miss a trick? If not, don’t panic because we have a few top tips on getting ahead of the game.
Bring the right people
The first thing to get straight is who you’re taking to the show. Fewer bodies mean less ground covered and fewer conversations had, so there is everything to be gained by turning out in force. Glee is a great networking opportunity and the chance for many of your team to get some valuable face time with existing suppliers, as well as make introductions to potential new ones. It is also the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with products and really assess what’s on offer from key suppliers before making any crucial range reviews.
Leading retailers and Glee veterans will tell you that they like to have as many relevant buyers as possible on site to help them divide and conquer. Boyd Douglas Davies of British Garden Centres explains: “We take as many people as we see necessary – which is quite a large number – but this is because they're all needed and there's so much to learn!” He adds: “We have buyers and a support team for all categories represented at Glee. Gardening, for example, will be there for the duration and maybe even our gift buyer will go for a day. It doesn’t matter how many reps you see regularly, it doesn’t beat being able to hoof it up and down at the show and look at six suppliers, comparing their offer and considering what will sell better in your business.”
Ian Richardson of Garsons added: “I like to take as many people as possible, so they can see how it’s done. They work with the reps all the time, so it’s nice to see them at the show.”
If you only have one day
You won’t be able to see it all but you can still make a dent with one day at Glee. The key is to be prepared, so check out the exhibitor list online beforehand and earmark the suppliers you want to see while you’re there. Make a note of their stand number and plan a route, so you’re not traipsing across halls and back again. You can also view their product range and any press releases on gleebirmingham.com, so you can do a bit of research and jot down any products that pique your interest and you’d want to see in the flesh.
To make life even easier, why not download the Glee Connect app, so you have everything at the touch of a button on a mobile or tablet.
Some people like to make appointments, others don’t but, if you are in the former camp, then make sure you’ve got those in the diary before the big day. If you are anti-appointments, then just have a few conversations with people in the lead up to the show to let them know you’re going to be there, so you can keep an eye out for one another.
Get there early!
The show opens its doors at 9:00am and if you want to maximise your time, don’t waltz in mid-morning because you will kick yourself when you weren’t able to get everything done. Also, it’s a great time to go onto stand, have a look around, and grab some exhibitors for a chat before the foot traffic really picks up and you’re fighting a crowd.
Pick up a show guide on your way in, seek out the New Products Showcase – the first port of call for any Glee veteran wanting to get the inside scoop on what new products could be keeping the tills ringing in the year ahead - and get walking. Boyd Douglas Davies says he was clocking up more than 10 miles a day at Glee last year, so you’ll definitely be covering some ground!
If you have two days
You still have to be smart with your time, so everything above still applies but you will have a bit more freedom to browse and to re-visit anything that caught your eye the day before. The beauty of coming back for a second bite of the cherry the next day is that you’ve had time to make sense of the blur of information, new faces, products and opportunities that greeted you on the first day and can return with a more formulated plan and even keener sense of what you’re looking for. Trends might have jumped out to you as you digested what you all saw the day before and, having two days at Glee, means you have time to re-group, bring your team together to share findings and get back out there with those eagle eyes. The British Garden Centres buyers don’t miss a trick. “We have a team meeting every day where we swap notes and catch up on what we’ve seen,” says Boyd.
If you have three days
You’ve blocked out three days in your diary to really make the most of the show – great plan! So, not only will you be able to work your way around the aisles and have all the conversations you want to have, but you will also be able to enjoy the incredible line-up of live content on offer, which is designed to help retail businesses tap into key trends and opportunities.
We know the New Product Zone is a popular feature at the show and many buyers make a beeline for it when they first arrive but, what they may not check out are the New Product Awards or supplier pitches. Find time to attend this and you will gain a greater understanding of the new products making waves in the garden sector.
Equally, Glee’s timetable of inspiring seminar content is worth taking a seat by The Stage for. Glean insights from this year’s line-up, which includes predictions from leading trend experts, industry professionals sharing tips, ideas and best practices, plus research into consumer buying behaviour.
If any of the talks clash with your plans or you want to re-cap what you saw, you can now watch content on demand after the show has closed. Register here for instant access.