Among the new outreach efforts by Maya, is an increased presence at trade shows and other industry events. One such event was the All Wireless & Prepaid Expo (AWPE) in Las Vegas, which took place on August 20 and 21. It was our first time attending this particular show, but we found it to be incredibly valuable for both vendors and attendees.
The event was held at Caesar’s Palace in the Augustus Ballroom. Venue-wise, it’s a great location. It’s a well known venue, right in the middle of one of the most famous cities in the world. Plus Caesar’s is quite luxurious and makes a great impression with its long corridors, high ceilings and classy decor. Also, the services provided by the event and venue were especially nice. There was plenty of coffee and other refreshments, as well as pastries, fruit, and small sandwiches- all which were complementary for vendors and attendees. The only downside is that the venue was somewhat difficult to access from the parking areas, marking loading and unloading a bit of a chore. For attendees however, access was straightforward.
Inside the ballroom, booths were laid out in simple rows, with the larger vendors and sponsors located in the center. The number of vendor spaces was limited, being that this was a smaller event. However, this wasn’t exactly a bad thing. The relatively small offering meant that attendees could comfortably spend time at each booth, without the pressure to move on. Additionally, the mix of vendor types was good. Most were prepaid service providers and accessory vendors, as one would expect. But there were also a small selection of parts vendors (like us), point-of-sale service providers, mobile-pay services and mobile-banking providers. Following that was a small, but eclectic, mix of companies including device refurbishers, phone protection product manufacturers, and IT/software vendors.
For the average privately-owned cell-phone shop, this event offered plenty of opportunities to help build or expand their business. It’s great to see events like these, providing small independent businesses with the common resources and information that they need to be successful. That said, there were also some niche vendors as well, such as a risk-management & reputation-vetting service, a philanthropic block-chain advocacy group, and a cosmetics company. Exactly how relevant these offerings are will depend on the specific aims of each business owner. Still, it’s nice to see a little bit of variety sprinkled in with the rest of the mobile businesses.
Opportunities go both ways at events like these. The event not only benefited the attendees, but also the vendors with booth space. Our primary goal was to increase brand awareness and sign up new customers. But one of the other benefits was the chance to get valuable face-time with the types of people we serve. As mentioned before, many of these attendees our owners of small cellphone shops who provide a wide range of mobile-related products and services. Since some of them are also offering repair services, our presence here gives us a unique opportunity to directly hear some of their concerns and wants.
One example is with specific product questions. In a typical online exchange, if a customer fails to find what they are looking for, they will simply leave the website and look elsewhere. However, in a setting like this, we are able to actively engage with these customers to address their concerns and learn more about their needs. For this reason, we made sure to bring along our warehouse manager and most experienced customer service and sales staff. This way, our exchanges could be as effective and valuable as possible.
We also got a chance to visit with existing customers, which is always appreciated. Being an online business, we have many clients that we don’t get to see on a face-to-face basis. So it’s really nice when we get a chance to meet up with them.
We had a great time at AWPE. We met many new customers and got a good look at what else is going on in the mobile industry. If you didn’t get a chance to go this year, we encourage you to consider going next time. If you would like to see the rest of our photos from the event, visit our Google Photos gallery page.
As for us, we will soon be preparing for our next event, which is CTIA Mobile World Congress in October. Keep an eye on our social media channels or sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates. We hope to see you there!