The Ultimate Guide to Buying Wholesale Apparel for a Trade Show

top view of milan international exhibitionWhen you are planning on attending a trade show as an exhibitor, you need to be sure to have the right products with you. The right swag can help you build relationships and capture leads, so it is extremely important from a marketing perspective. While many businesses rely solely on giving away cheap freebies like pens and keychains, you can set yourself apart from your competitors by offering something with a bit more pizzazz. Wholesale apparel is a great option because it is functional and is likely to be used rather than being tossed in a drawer at the end of the event. Buying wholesale hats and caps, canvas totes or even t-shirts is more affordable than you may realize, and it’s a great idea for trade show attendees.

Not quite sure what you need to buy? Keep reading to discover our guide to buying wholesale apparel for a trade show.

What Type of Apparel Is Best?

To some extent, the type of apparel that is best for trade shows varies depending on what industry you are in and the nature of the trade show itself. In general, though, things like t-shirts, tote bags and hats always go over well. You could also offer some higher-value items–such as hooded sweatshirts or jackets–to especially qualified leads who are likely to invest in your product or service.

tote bag mockupBuying canvas totes in bulk is smart for anyone who is setting up a booth at a trade show. Attendees tend to collect a lot of free products and literature throughout the event, and if you give them a tote, they will have a convenient way of carrying it. Have your company’s information screen printed on each tote, and almost everyone who visits your booth will end up walking around advertising your company throughout the course of the show.

Blank t-shirts are a solid investment, too. When you buy in bulk, they are extremely affordable. Have them customized by a trusted screen printer in your area, and you will have a cost-effective marketing tool that will continue advertising your business months–or even years–after the event. Each shirt should include your logo, phone number, slogan, website and any other applicable information. After all, you want people who see your shirt to be able to contact you if they require your services.

How Many Products Should You Purchase?

When purchasing any type of wholesale apparel, buying in larger quantities generally means getting a better price. Of course, you don’t want to overbuy and end up with more stuff than you can ever possibly get rid of. You also don’t want to underbuy and risk running out long before the end of the trade show. So, how do you figure out how much you need to buy?

If you are attending a large show with 2,000 or more people expected to attend, about 25 percent of them will likely stop by and take whatever swag you are offering. So, in this instance, you should have no less than 500 pieces. If you are attending a smaller show, though, up to 75 percent of attendees may stop by to claim what you are giving away.

Familiarize yourself with how many people are expected to attend and plan accordingly. Choose promotional products that are “evergreen” so they can be handed out to customers and leads long after the event ends if you have extras. If you are unsure of how many items to purchase, it’s usually best to buy more than you think you need. It is also a good idea to invest in some smaller items to ensure that you have something to hand out even if you run out of your main giveaway item.

Closing Thoughts

modern home tradeshowWhen you are shopping for wholesale apparel to bring with you to a trade show, choose products that offer the right balance of value and affordability. If you are buying t-shirts, for example, look for ones from leading brands like Gildan or Bella+Canvas. In addition to ensuring quality, name-brand shirts have a higher perceived value, and their manufacturers tend to have ethical business practices. Your leads will love seeing products from brands that source materials in a sustainable manner and treat employees fairly.

Also, consider your audience. If you are attending an event that is mostly geared toward women, it’s a good idea to invest in female-friendly apparel. Having multiple sizes is a sure way to set yourself up for success. At ShirtMax, we have all the wholesale apparel you need to make your next trade show a hit!