The Only Way to Survive
Over the past week, I was at the ASD Market Week in Las Vegas, one of the world’s largest wholesale events. I have attended each year since the spring of 2013, and my primary mission was to pre-order good products each time, but after starting my consulting business, last year, rather than going to purchase products, I have learned to anticipate the trends of the year and attend so I can meet good potential partners. In particular, two years ago, at this very event, I met and formed a good partnership, which resulted in our creating great accomplishments, so this event is also rich in connections. Last week, I went to this event as an exhibitor to support my partner’s booth.
ASD Market Week in Las Vegas is held twice a year and consists mainly of booths that deal with miscellaneous goods such as jewelry-like accessories, perfumes, cosmetics, bags, clothing, e-cigarettes, ornaments, etc. As a place that showcases the world’s most diverse range of products with approximately 45,000 buyers from over 90 countries gathered in one place. You can see what the newest trends are and check out new items, and because you can also make a variety of networks, this event offers tremendous business opportunities for potential buyers.
In fact, most of the visitors and buyers that attend are not just viewing products or looking for unique items. Usually, they visit the booths of companies that they already order from, look over the newest products, and immediately put in an order. I remember that it was like this at least four years ago. We met each other every half year, exchanged pleasantries, shared our opinions on the new products, negotiated prices, put in the order, and after a few weeks from the event, I would receive the products and immediately deliver them to a large company.
Eventually, it became an event that prioritized existing customers rather than seeking new customers. This event was created by B2B wholesalers to exhibit goods, so most buyers have sufficient purchasing power, and since each buyer spends at least $80,000, it is a great opportunity for exhibitors.
However, I felt that the atmosphere has started to change since last year. The droves of buyers have begun to diminish gradually, and as there are growing empty booth spaces, I feel as if this event is becoming an industrial has-been. The B2B market has been struggling with Amazon and the online market for the past few years, and the offline businesses are crumbling, strangely matching this timing.
A remarkable thing is that many former wholesale buyers have dropped significantly, but in comparison, too many retail buyers have increased. Most of them have stores, so unlike the past, where they would order large quantities and deliver them to large companies. In recent years, there has been a growing number of online retailers who buy in small quantities and sell them online. Also, the majority of the buyers attend not to purchase products but to check on prices and read the trends like myself.
“Nothing changes if nothing changes.”
Observing the event for the past few days, I saw that even though the event has been decreasing each year, the booth exhibitors have not strayed from their traditional methods. Despite the fact that the trends and distribution structure has changed, sellers still expect to receive even larger orders as they promote their products in the same way. Do they know that we live in a world where you can find anything with a simple search?
Not long ago, we heard the news that Toys R Us was preparing to liquidate all their stores in the United States. This was the natural outcome of their inadequate response to the online age and their decline in their ability to reach the changes in the digital environment.
Ultimately, responding quickly to the changing times is the only way to survive in this world that changes daily.