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More Changes in Store at Backer’s Total Pet Expo

Posted: April 22, 2014, 2:45 p.m. EDT

H.H. Backer Associates is sprucing up its annual Backer’s Total Pet Expo by adding a smartphone app, a Secret Shopper contest and other attractions.

The changes to the pet products trade show follow a revamped 2013 exhibition that drew positive reviews from attendees.

The next Backer’s Total Pet Expo is scheduled for Sept. 19 to 21 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in suburban Chicago.

"Backer’s Total Pet Expo continues to be the best place for our buyers to meet face to face with current and potential vendor partners while getting the product and business education they need to continue to be successful,” said Colette Fairchild, the show’s director. "The additional changes we’re making are designed to make the overall show experience better for everyone.”

 Backer's Total Pet Expo
Several hundred exhibitors displayed their goods to retailers and other buyers at the 2013 Backer’s Total Pet Expo.
The app, available from iTunes and Google Play, is designed for smartphones and tablet computers. It locates exhibitors, displays schedules, speaker bios and maps, and offers a QR scanner, photo gallery and social media links.

The Secret Shopper contest will reward exhibitors through the use of mystery shoppers who will visit booths to assess vendors’ knowledge and service.

Also planned are:

• The Top Ten All-Natural Product Lounge within the All-Natural Area on Level 1. The lounge will showcase products voted on by retailers before the show.

• $10,000 in prizes for exhibitors who pitch "an interesting and innovative pet product,” according to H.H. Backer Associates.

The 2013 show featured the inaugural Pet Store on the Floor, a 3,500-square-foot sample store outfitted with merchandise, live animals and point-of-sale systems. The store will be updated in September with a boutique section.

Returning in 2014 are:

• The New Exhibitor Area, the All-Industry Networking Party, a 5K run/walk, the Idea Wall, the Product Innovations area, a grooming competition and free shuttle service to Chicago on Friday night.

• The Backer Buyer Rewards program. Instead of receiving gift cards, buyers will get $75 in cash for every $3,500 in orders. The maximum award is $225.

• Smart Zone classes. A business management track, more seats and several speakers have been added.

In addition, a preshow seminar, "The Nuts and Bolts of Bigger Retail Profits,” will be hosted by business professional Chris Beykirch on Sept. 18.

Registration for the show is available at


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