After extensive upgrades to its annual fall event in 2013, H.H. Backer Associates is adding more new programs and improvements to enhance the trade show experience for both exhibitors and buyers during this year’s show.
“Backer’s Total Pet Expo continues to be the best place for our buyers to meet face-to-face with current and potential vendor partners while getting the product and business education they need to continue to be successful,” Colette Fairchild, the show’s director, said. “The additional changes we’re making are designed to make the overall show experience better for everyone.”
Attendees to this year’s show, which takes place Sept. 19-21, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, will find the following new features.
An app for smartphones and tablets available from iTunes and Google Play that includes exhibitor and attendee locators, schedules, speaker bios, maps, a QR scanner, photo gallery and social media links.
A “Top Ten” All-Natural Product Lounge within the popular All-Natural Area on Level 1, showcasing the best products of current exhibitors as voted on by retailers online pre-show.
A contest that will provide a new and exciting opportunity for exhibitors. Companies that have an interesting and innovative pet product should be ready to make their best pitch for prizes valued at $10,000 and a chance for significant national media exposure. More information will be announced at a later date.
A Secret Shopper contest designed to reward exhibitors. Mystery shoppers visit select booths to assess exhibitors’ levels of knowledge and service. Prizes will be announced at a later date.
There will also be improvements to existing programs.
A boutique section will be added to the “Pet Store on the Floor,” a 3,500-square-foot store located on Level 2. Retailers can get merchandising tips, find out about POS systems, learn about staff training programs and interact with live animal displays.
A change in the Backer Buyer Rewards program will award cash back rather than gift cards for buyers placing orders at the show. For every $3500 worth of orders placed at Backer’s Total Pet Expo, buyers will receive $75 post-show, up to $225 with proper documentation per qualified firm.
There will be a new business management track in the “Smart Zone” education station area. Several new speakers have been added to the other stations in addition to more seating to accommodate larger groups. Other tracks include technology, aquatics, marketing/merchandising and animal health/wellness.
In addition there will be a new full day pre-show seminar by Chris Beykirch on Thursday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. entitled, “The Nuts and Bolts of Bigger Retail Profits.”
Other popular returning features include the New Exhibitor Area; the All-Industry Networking Party on Saturday, September 20 featuring an ‘80s theme; the GoToRovers.com 5K Fun Run/Walk; The Idea Wall; the Product Innovations area; the Celebration of Style Grooming Competition and the free Chicago shuttle bus service on Friday evening, Sept. 19.