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  • Karl Pawlewicz

How does a souvenir, gift, and apparel expo in April affect the fulfillment cycle?


An image of shipping containers stacked up at a dockyard.

Speaking with many of our souvenir, gift, and apparel suppliers about The Reunion, we’ve heard some questions about running the expo in April and what this will mean for the fulfillment cycle. Some folks have told us, “We don’t think an April show is right for us because we won’t have stock to ship that quickly.”


It’s easy to think we’re shortening the sales cycle and forcing suppliers to work harder to have product in hand earlier in the year. The reality though is we’re doing the exact opposite. By hosting an expo in April we’re lengthening the sales cycle by allowing for buyers and sellers to plan in advance and submit orders so that producers have enough time to fulfill those orders well in advance of holiday season. Essentially we are adding 4-5 months of additional time for manufacturers and exhibitors to fulfill orders.


One buyer, who will be taking part in our Retail Advisory Board this year, had this to say about an April expo: “I am very excited to see an extensive souvenir and gift show in the month of April. As the Import Supply Chain timeline continues to move up in the calendar year, an earlier import show makes total sense, even in early April. For most buyers, it is almost impossible to attend a trade show from late April through early September because most buyers are operating their stores.”


What are the benefits of hosting a souvenir, gift, and apparel expo in April?


Inventory stacked on shelves in a warehouse.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of hosting an expo in April is safeguarding orders from unfulfillment. As manufacturers know, sometimes issues completely out of their control can pop up and stall or completely derail an order. With extra time, sellers should be able to stay on schedule and overcome any unexpected delays.


This will be especially important for newer exhibitors looking to make a name for themselves within the industry. Added time should ensure they can hit their delivery deadlines and build invaluable trust with Reunion buyers.


Having more time to fulfill orders should also eliminate expedited shipping or overtime labor. In 2022, FedEx shipping rates increased by an average of 4.9% across US domestic, export, and import services. (source) By getting extra time to fulfill orders sellers should be able to keep their operational costs neutral, or maybe even reduce them, and thereby increase profitability.


Beyond the added time gained to ship product, for many sellers more time means a more accurate picture of how much inventory they need, which should reduce the need to maintain excess inventory to prevent unfulfillment. This will save exhibitors added carrying costs such as storage, insurance, and obsolescence costs.


What if I don’t have product to display in April?


A crowded expo hall featuring souvenir, gift, and apparel manufacturers. The Reunion takes place April 4-6, 2024 in Las Vegas.

Obviously exhibitors are no stranger to getting creative when it comes to displaying product. Seasoned expo goers always have a plan. As with any wholesale show, samples or catalogs should suffice to show products that aren’t on hand yet.


Or as one exhibitor shared with us at our recent Rocky Mountain Show, consider a virtual showroom tour so that buyers can see products via video. The more immersive and interactive you can make the experience, the better.


Ultimately hosting The Reunion in April is a calculated move rooted in feedback from sellers and buyers who have had to overcome tremendous logistical challenges the last few years. Our goal for this show is to give everyone more time to do business and make 2024 the most successful year possible. If we can help in any way as you prepare to exhibit or attend, please let us know.


For more information on exhibitor space, go to: https://www.thereunionexpo.com/exhibitors


For more information on attending, go to: https://www.thereunionexpo.com/attendees

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