Whether it’s your first trip to Market or your twenty-first, it’s essential to come prepared with a plan. Taking a few simple steps before you ever leave home can make the difference between feeling overwhelmed and scattered and being focused and efficient.
The key is preparation and organization. What do you need to accomplish? Are you ordering from existing lines to simply fill in inventory? Are you considering expanding into a new category? There’s an adage to “buy what you sell, don’t sell what you buy” that applies to almost every retailer. Make a plan and stick to it; otherwise it’s easy to get sidetracked and suddenly find you only have a day left until you go home, and you haven’t accomplished what you intended.
Use the AmericasMart Market Magazine, the AmericasMart app and AmericasMart.com to plot a course for each day. Look to the Market Information/Floor Plans tab in the back of the magazine for all the information you need about market hours, registration, product categories and locations. Then browse the floor plans to decide which areas you need to focus on. Don’t be afraid to tear out pages and bring them with you to Market. You can access the comprehensive exhibitor and category listings on AmericasMart.com, view exhibitors’ Digital Showrooms and create a Market Plan. Download the AmericasMart app and pick up a copy of The Atlanta Buyer’s Guide when you arrive at Market to have this information at your fingertips.
Once you’re in Atlanta, you’ll need to have a plan for getting to the AmericasMart campus. We offer free shuttle service from our partner hotels all around Atlanta, as well as from the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC). If you’re driving, visit AmericasMart.com/Parking and use ParkSmart to reserve your parking space before you arrive at Market.
Shop all appropriate floors for your merchandise categories by going through each hallway. If you see a showroom you’d like to visit that isn’t on your original list, highlight it on your floor plan for a return visit. Study the floor plans of the temporaries to determine the categories you need to shop. Remember that you are a purchasing agent for your customers, not a selling agent for the manufacturer, so take time to establish a good relationship with vendors and suppliers.
Using the bridges to move between buildings is not only convenient, it also can lead to new product discoveries. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and explore showrooms, floors or even entire product categories that you might otherwise skip. You could find the perfect line of picture frames on a Seasonal/Gift floor or discover a new cookbook vendor in The Gardens.
Many vendors offer discounts and specials during Market, so don’t be afraid to ask for the best deal. Always find out the freight charge to accurately calculate the total cost of the order. Remember to ask how long it will take for the product to arrive and ask about cancellation and back order policies. Include a shipping date on every order placed—never assume an order will be shipped unless the date has been confirmed.
We have lounges and food locations throughout Market — check your Buyer's Guide for details. Buyers from outside the U.S. can make the International Buyer’sLounge their home base during Market for both amenities and information. Interior designers should take advantage of the Designer Workspace in Building 1, Floor 15 to use the resources and the client meeting space.
Don’t forget to include time for educational events (there are some phenomenal learning opportunities at Markets) as well as some of the social events. Markets are about more than shopping ’til you drop—have a focused plan so you also have time to enjoy Atlanta’s hospitality!
Market Checklist • Hotel reservations • Business cards • Resale license or local sales tax number • Credit information for new vendors • Estimated budget • Knowledge of store inventory • Purchase plan by categories • Pre-planned appointment schedule • Assignments for each member of your buying team • Planned merchandise delivery dates • AmericasMart app download • Fast Badge Registration for returning buyers • Clothing layers to accommodate different showroom climates • Water bottle • Comfortable shoes