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  • #62 How to do The Canton Fair with Danny McMillan – Part 2 of 2

June 20, 2016

#62 How to do The Canton Fair with Danny McMillan – Part 2 of 2

Danny’s recent article on the Canton Fair for www.webretailer is here

What are the 5 biggest mistakes people make attending the fair for the first time?

When people don’t plan at all and they get lost and lose their time. Once a phase is over, it’s over. So if you don’t plan out where you need to be you very well may end up missing out on what you went there for. By taking 10 minutes to plan out where you need to be at what time, you can save yourself hours.

The distances between Halls can be over a mile!

1. Failure to network

Take the time to network.

  1. It gives you energy.
  2. It creates a great experience because many Amazon sellers are really nice people.
  3. You can get invited to WeChat groups which is like your on-demand Siri for the Canton Fair. People in these groups can help you with translations or help getting around if you need it.

2. Discussing exact pricing

At least not specifically. These vendors pay a premium for their stand and they may charge you a premium on your unit cost.

It’s fine to get a general idea of pricing. Ask what the price would be for 5000 units knowing your initial order will be 500 – 1000. Use this price to work backwards and get a general guidance on pricing, but don’t sound like you’re agreeing to anything.

Once you get back home and contact them you’ll be able to come down 5%, but their still playing with the other 25% because of that premium. But three or four weeks later, they might not have made back their money from the fair and will be willing to negotiate a better price.

3. Having wrong footwear.

Taking only leather shoes, not trainers is a big error! Also having just one pair of trainers – take 2-3 pairs.

4. Staying too far from the Fair/with no English speakers.

One mistake Danny says he made was using AirBnB. It is better to pay the premium to stay in the hotel because there won’t be an issue with language barriers and they are able to get you a taxi to the fair. It took them two hours to figure out how to get to the fair because no one spoke english. He finally got wifi and was able to use Google translate to communicate with the cab driver. It really affects the quality and enjoyment of the trip.

What are some things you need to do post-fair?

Danny says he had a good system with his business partner. He would take a picture of the stand, the product, and the business card on the catalogue. They didn’t want to take the catalogue because it would weigh them down, so they asked for an e-catalogue. And they took pictures with the people in the stand to humanize it. That way when you look back later you will remember who you were dealing with.

Next time, Danny plans on using Evernote to link all the pictures and note together. This will save a lot of time. By doing it there, it will be fresh rather than trying to recall it days or a week later. By systematizing the process while you’re there you can save yourself major headaches later on.

How do you handle technology and connectivity in a country where that is notoriously difficult to stay connected?

Danny recommends several apps and solutions. All of these can be found in his wonderful article that he wrote about the Canton Fair.

Express VPN – This is a virtual private network solution. This will allow you to bypass China’s internet restrictions to sites such as Facebook and Google. It has a 30-day money back guarantee. Use it wisely.

They use different SIM cards. So you would have to buy one for Hong Kong and another for China.

Take some cash with you so you pay for the cab in the beginning because you can’t use a credit card to exchange currency.

JetLag Rooster

Evernote, as we mentioned before.



Get the Hong Kong app for the trains.

By the way, If you go to the Global Sources fair (in Hong Kong), you don’t have to pay to for transit. Just show them your pass.

In China, Guangzhou Metro app. (iTunes/Android)

What would you change on your return visit?

Danny plans on doing things a little differently. This is intended for his personal needs, so it might not work for everyone. He’s going to go straight to Hong Kong. Before, it was difficult to travel between countries, so by going directly there he can avoid crossing the borders so much. In Hong Kong, he will do his presentation, then two days of shows. Then take a train into Shenzhen for some niche fairs. He might skip Canton this time around or do only two days.

If he does skip it then he will go to the Yuri Markets which is like a year long Canton Fair. Only it’s tougher finding good products. They will be taking Turkish Air, so while in Turkey they might hit some other markets while there.

Pro Tip: While there, one of Danny’s suppliers had their own stand and offered to help him navigate the fair as well as translate. So if you already have connections with suppliers you might be able to enlist their help.

How do people hear more from you, read more from you or contact you?

Danny’s recent article on the Canton Fair for www.webretailer is here

www.DannyMcMillan.com – along with the contact information you can find spreadsheets and updates on fixtures and guest speaking gigs as well as booking him for speaking gigs. 

Watch How To Do The Canton Fair With Danny Mcmillan – Part 2 Of 2

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