Depending on who you speak to trade shows are more important than ever or not relevant at all with many opinions in between.  If you don’t show are you taking a risk that you won’t see many of your accounts or can you easily see them another way?  Fashion trade shows are costly endeavors and showing at one show alone can run over thousands of dollars for the company.  There is the cost of renting the space, but you also need to decorate, travel to it, and have salespeople to man the booth.  With buying patters changing many companies wonder if this is an expense they can live without.
When I first started in the industry you called a buyer, they came to the showroom, and either bought or didn’t.  Marketing was simplistic.  You may have mailed a postcard to your clients or ran advertisements to build brand recognition, but your phone was your most important tool.  Over the years things have changed.  Trade shows such as Coterie were started, emailing and social marketing came into being.  The stores merged and merged and many simply went out of business.  Before there were thousands of buyers to call on, now, not so much. Selling has become a lot harder.
The bottom line is there is no one way to do business.  You cannot rely on only one method.  Business owners must put a lot of effort into seeing buyers.  There aren’t as many buyers and there are many lines vying for their attention.  The buyers aren’t always traveling to shows or coming to your showroom.  That means there is not only one way to reach out to them.  Trade shows will not be the answer to seeing all your potential buyers but it is one of the tools in your arsenal to build your business.  Trade shows along with showroom appointments, regional markets, in store visits, and social marketing will create a synergy that will go a long way toward building top of mind awareness with your target customers.
 

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