Get Expo Ready: How To Prepare For Expo West 2022

WeStock Team
March 16, 2023

If you are in the CPG world your feeds and inboxes and meetings have likely been filled with Expo West this and Expo West that for weeks and weeks on end. But now here we are just a few days out from the CPG event of the year. If you are exhibiting your booth is ready by now or you're hammering out the final details, if you are just attending your plane tickets are booked and you may have started thinking about what to pack, but ready or not it’s go time.

Before you step foot in sunny California, here are a few tips to make the most out of your time there.  

Set Your Goals

Expo West is like Disneyland for CPG founders and buyers alike (fitting that the mouse’s park is just around the corner). With that, it is easy to find it overstimulating and exhausting, we want you to leave Expo West excited about all you accomplished and excited to go back in 2023 (and yes probably a little exhausted, but the good kind). The best way to do this is to go in with goals in mind. For example, are there specific buyers or retailers you really want to connect with? What would you consider a big win? Are there founders or vendors you want to meet? Are you doing any research? Do you want to learn more about industry trends? Considering what objectives matter to you is key to having a successful time at Expo. If it’s your first time going we also recommend talking to founders who’ve attended before and hear their takeaways, this may help you goal set.

Plan Your Route

Put simply, the Expo floor is overwhelming! So much to see so little time. To be sure you see what you want to and connect with founders you want to connect with, plan your route through the floors. We suggest downloading the official Expo West app to plot your route through the booths.

Reach Out

If there are people you really really want to connect with, don’t be afraid to reach out beforehand. Maybe you can schedule a meeting or maybe it’s as simple as an introduction so when you see them on the floor you can reference your earlier connection.

Give People a Way to Get in Touch

We may be living in a digital world but sometimes paper still rules. Be sure to have lots of business cards, sell sheets, and any other collateral you want other brands, vendors, or retail buyers to have. If you want to go paper-free, make sure you have a QR code with all the relevant info linked.

Take Notes

If Expo West is anything it’s a whirlwind. Samples are flying left and right, your feet hurt, you’ve talked to way too many people and suddenly you are on the plane home. The last thing you want is to get back to work the following Monday and say, “Who was that person that told me about that co-packer?” or “What was the name of that buyer from Whole Foods?” Take notes. Lots of them. Whether you are exhibiting and have someone on your team jotting notes down as people come by your booth or if you are just walking the floor have a notepad or a page on your notes app you can write things down on.

You probably won’t have time to write super clear notes for yourself so make it a practice to go through them when you get back to your hotel or Airbnb and organize them in a spreadsheet or master doc so when you leave Anaheim you know what you wanted to remember.

Make Connections (and remember them)

This one is sort of a part 2 to “Take Notes” but it deserves its own time to shine. Like we’ve said, you are going to meet a lot of people at Expo West, a lot. Of course, there may be some familiar faces or LinkedIn connections you finally get to meet in real life, but there will be so many potential connections beyond your network. Take advantage of that. Strike up conversations with people you don’t know, pop into conversations you overhear (eavesdropping is chill here), and keep an open mind.

With all those first impressions and introductions it would be a shame to have those connections end after the Expo does. Not only do we encourage taking notes on who you have good conversations with, but when you go through your daily note organization, connect with those people on LinkedIn or leave a detailed note (spreadsheets can come in handy here) to connect with them when you return home. And don’t forget to send a note with your connection request to spark their memory of you.

A Few Silly (but important notes)

Some of these may be obvious but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

  • Wear Comfortable Shoes
  • You may be inside but you’ll be walking a ton. Now is not the time to pull out your new kicks.
  • Don’t Bother Parking Near the Convention Center
  • Instead, if you aren’t staying within walking distance, uber or park at one of the satellite lots and shuttle in.
  • Bring a Water Bottle
  • You’ll need something to wash down all those snacks!

Especially after two years of fewer gatherings, people are reared and ready to hit the ground running at Expo this year, it’s normal to feel a little nervous about preparing enough. We hope that these tips will help you make the most of Expo West 2022 and make a splash for your brand.

A fun way to capture data at the conference? Add a QR Code with your WeStock request form to your booth, the back of a notebook, your phone etc… so attendees can request you and you can get their emails too.  

WeStock Team

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