ASD Market Week is a huge trade show filled with presentations, over 2700 exhibitors and 45,000 buyers. It’s held at Las Vegas twice a year and I just returned home after attending it for my first time.
Actually, it was my first for many things – first trade show, first time attending live-presentations held by successful Amazon FBA Sellers and the first time for meeting other Amazon FBA Sellers in person.
In this post, I’ll tell you all about it!
February 28, 2016 – Travel Day
My mom and I arrived in Las Vegas late afternoon and took a taxi to the Westgate Hotel. I chose this hotel because it’s right next door to the Convention Center and the price was right using the ASD early bird discount. The base price was either $45 or $65 a night depending on your room choice.
Before I go any further, I just want to say THANK YOU to the Southwest Air employees, the taxi driver, the Westgate Hotel employees and LasVegasWheelchairs.com for helping my mother and me. She requires the use of a wheelchair at the airport and a walker at the hotel and they made the trip very easy.
Feb 29, 2016: Meeting Ree & Vendor Booths & Robyn Johnson
Ree from the PrivateLabelPreneur blog picked me up at 8:00 for breakfast. We were both super-excited to meet each for the first time in person and we hit it off immediately. There was no awkward silence and we just non-stop talked the whole time about our businesses.
We had a great breakfast & conversation and then went to the Convention Center. We checked in and then went our separate ways so that we could both concentrate on the vendors that we were interested in.
Since I’m concentrating on selling shoes, I decided to go to the Shoe Parlor first….It took me a little while to figure out how to get there and by the time I found it, I was feeling overwhelmed by the HUGE size of the trade show.
With so many booths and people, I suddenly felt like a very small dot on the ASD Map. I almost felt that I didn’t “belong” there because of my lack of trade show experience and because I had a small budget.
I didn’t feel comfortable talking to any of the exhibitors, so I just walked around.
** Don’t worry, on Day 2 and Day 3, I got over it and did talk to several exhibitors.
I probably only spent about 20 minutes inside the Shoe Parlor and then walked back to the Westgate to check on my mom. At least it was an easy 10 minute walk through the Convention Center hallways to get back to the hotel.
I had lunch with my mom and then walked back to the Convention Center as there was a presentation that I wanted to watch. What’s great about ASD is that they provide free educational seminars all day long. Besides learning something new, you get a chance to rest your feet.
Ree met me at the presentation room and we caught up with each other and then we watched Robyn Johnson’s presentation, “Show Me the Money: Finding and Analyzing Wholesale Sources for eCommerce.” It was an excellent presentation about finding niche products and wholesaling.
A lot of what Robyn said in that presentation is also included in the Proven Wholesale Sourcing course that she teaches, but it was a totally different experience seeing her speak in person rather than listening to her on the computer speakers.
I was really impressed with Robyn and plan on learning more from her soon.
March 1, 2016: Jim Cockrum’s Presentation and Shoe Vendors
Jim Cockrum’s keynote presentation started at 10:00 am, so I met Ree at 8:45 in front of the presentation room to stand in line. We were smart for getting their early as the line grew pretty long.
We chatted with the other early birds in line and then Ree asked the person ahead of us to hold our spot so that we could go downstairs to the Shoe Parlor.
This time, I felt better walking the shoe aisles and we quickly found a shoe company that sells to Amazon FBA Sellers. They were really nice and I grabbed their info to research and said I would be back later to talk to them. We walked the shoe aisles for a few more minutes and then went back upstairs to get back in line.
When we returned, the person holding our spot gave us both a little piece of paper that was passed out while we were gone. The little paper was good for a free autographed copy of Jim Cockrum’s book, Silent Sales Machine.
That was pretty cool and then we walked into the room and sat in the FRONT row. I’m typically not a front row person, but in this case, I’m glad we sat there because Jim walked along the front row and said “hi” to everyone.
I was very nervous meeting him in person and told him that the reason that I came to ASD was to see him in person. He said there should be a better reason, but to be honest, that was the truth!
Anyway, the presentation was fantastic! They recorded it and it’ll be available in the Proven Amazon Course at a later date.
After the presentation, I went back to the hotel to have lunch with my mom. I was very excited about the shoe vendor that I met earlier, so as soon as we sat down at our lunch table, I opened up my laptop to start researching their products.
Their products are on Amazon, but unfortunately, the shoes that I looked up didn’t meet my ranking criteria.
After lunch, I went back to the shoe parlor and met a couple of other shoe exhibitors:
- One is looking to get their products listed on Amazon.
- One already works with Amazon FBA sellers and they will even label the shoes and send them to the Amazon warehouses for you.
Both companies emailed me their catalogs and I’ll be researching them soon!
What’s nice about each of the shoe vendors that I met with is that you don’t need to place a large order to get started with them. All they require is that you order a case of shoes (12 to 18 per case).
March 2, 2016: Visiting the South Hall
The morning was pretty much a repeat of the first two days – meeting up with Ree, talking to shoe vendors and attending a very informative session by John Lawson, Fred Neff, Kat Simpson and Robyn Johnson.
Then in the afternoon, I finally made my way to the upper level of the South Hall.
That area was crazy huge and there were booths for just about every product that you see while sourcing at the retail stores.
One of the first products that stood out to me were the character-themed backpacks that are popular during back-to-school season. I thought “wow,” I would love to buy the backpacks now and get a head start on everyone else that’s waiting for them to become available at Toys “R” Us.
Next, I found a vendor that sells work gloves and I thought “wow,” that’ll be a easy product to prep and ship to Amazon. The saleslady let me scan in a few gloves and she said that she didn’t care if I resold them on Amazon. But, I didn’t buy any gloves as Amazon is already selling them. 🙁
A little later, I found a liquidator that was selling the K&Company 12″ x 12″ pads of scrapbook paper for $2.50 and I thought “wow,” I can sell them for $19.99 on Amazon!
But by then, it was getting late, I was tired and I needed to go back to the hotel and gamble with my mom for a bit.
March 3, 2016: Going Home & Some Helpful Tips
I wanted to go back to the South Hall, but we needed to leave for the airport at 10 am. On the plane, I read Trade Show No Show. That eBook is also included in the Proven Amazon Course and it tells you how to source the trade shows without even attending them.
Before I sign off, here are a few ASD tips:
- Look at the session schedule and attend a few presentations. At ASD, there was an amazing line-up of speakers and educational topics. Besides learning something new, it gives you an opportunity to meet other Amazon Sellers.
- Meetup with other people that also sell on Amazon. Talking face-to-face with someone about your business that “gets it” is amazing.
- Don’t be afraid of approaching the vendors! Part of my nervousness on that first day of the trade show was that I felt that none of the vendors would want to do business with a “small” Amazon Seller like me. I was totally wrong on that one.
- Ask the Vendors if they sell to Amazon Sellers. Don’t waste your time talking to an exhibitor to later learn that they won’t allow you to sell their products on Amazon. By the way, only one of the shoe vendors that I spoke with doesn’t sell to Amazon Sellers.
- Don’t buy anything before doing your research first! Just like you wouldn’t buy inventory from a retail store without scanning it first, you shouldn’t buy products from an exhibitor without doing your product research first. The companies will will still exist after the trade show and if they have a “trade show” special, ask them if they’ll honor it after the show. If they say yes, be sure to get that in writing and the name of the person that you spoke to.
- Consider your travel companions when attending. I didn’t do as many “ASD-Activities” as I wanted to because I was taking care of my mom part of the time. Likewise, I didn’t do as much as I wanted to with my mom because I was busy with ASD. In the future, I’ll be keeping my business and personal trips separate.
- If you drink wine, check the wine list first! On the first night, we ate at the steakhouse and my glass of wine cost $19.00! Eek! It’s good to review the pricing and menus beforehand so you’re not caught by surprise. Las Vegas food & drinks at the hotel-restaurants on or near the strip may be more expensive that what you’re used to at home.
This trip was great but I was very unprepared for the trade show part of it. But to be honest, I really didn’t go there to land a bunch of new wholesale accounts. For me, it was a chance to see Jim Cockrum speak, meet Ree & other Amazon Sellers, see what ASD was all about and get a break from my normal routine.
p.s. The next big event on my wish list is Jim Cockrum’s CES IV! Click here to learn more about CES III which was held last September. CES looks like an awesome event and it’ll be neat to meet some of you there this year or next.