Five Big Takeaways from the 2019 SEMA Show

Last week our team was out in force at the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. If you passed through South Hall Upper on your way through the convention center, you might have seen us in our color-coordinated Text-to-Pay t-shirts. SEMA is a huge show in every sense of the word, and it can be a little overwhelming. We wanted to highlight five key takeaways from the show that will help you have an even more productive year next year.

It’s Really Two Shows. You Need to Go to Both.

SEMA isn’t just SEMA – it’s AAPEX, too. Located just a short shuttle ride away at the Sands Expo, AAPEX is another eye-popping spectacle that’s worth a trip. Your SEMA badge gives you access to both shows, so don’t hesitate to take a ride over to AAPEX and check it out. While you won’t find quite as many revving hot rods and cool off-road machines, if you’re a shop owner who is committed to giving your customers the very best you owe it to yourself to at least walk through. Many exhibitors choose to set up a booth at only one of the two shows, so by limiting yourself to SEMA you’re missing out on a lot of value.

It’s Really, Really Big. You Can’t See It All.

SEMA (and AAPEX, for that matter) is huge. There’s no other way to say it. You will spend a significant amount of time on your feet moving through the exhibit halls, and you won’t be able to see everything. The show does a great job of putting an interactive map online before the event, however, so you can search for your favorite vendors. Don’t have anyone in particular you want to see? You should at least plan out what areas of the show you want to hit. SEMA groups its exhibitors by category, so if you’re particularly into off-roading, for example, you can easily find those vendors all in one spot.

It’s in Vegas. You Know What That Means.

The Las Vegas Convention Centers is one of the largest event spaces in the world, and it’s located in a city that’s like no other. You can easily spend all day at SEMA and then take one of the free shuttle buses to the Strip and keep the party going all night long. If you do this, however, your SEMA experience will likely pass in one exhausted blur. Pace yourself. You’re here to have fun, sure, but if you’re like most shop owners you’re also here to learn about the latest aftermarket trends and find out about some new products as well. SEMA week is all about balance.

It’s a Trade Show. Go with a Shopper’s Mindset.

Notice we didn’t say go with a buyer’s mindset. You don’t need to spend a single penny at SEMA to derive benefits for your shop. You should, however, understand that every exhibitor has something to sell, and some of those things may be just what you’re looking for. Take the time to browse through the booths, even the ones that seem less exciting. Just because a company doesn’t have a monster truck in their booth doesn’t mean they can’t help your shop excel!

It’s a Learning Experience. Go to Class.

Did you know that AAPEX has a learning component? AAPEXedu is the continuing education arm of the show, and it’s included with your SEMA/AAPEX badge. All week long the industry’s leading experts and most successful shop owners take the stage for a robust program of panels, lectures, and discussions designed to help you take your shop to the next level. The caliber of these sessions is top-notch, and at an hour or less in length there’s really no excuse for not taking in one or two. The calendar is always posted in advance so you can plan your week effectively.

Will We See You Next Year?

The SEMA Show is one of the most highly anticipated events on our packed trade show schedule every year. We love getting to see so many partners, customers, and new friends all in one place. If you were at the show this year and we missed you, we hope to change that next year! If you haven’t considered SEMA before, we recommend giving it a try – it’s worth going at least once. Finally, if you’re an auto shop owner who is ready to turbocharge your credit card processing, 360 Payments is here to help. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to show you why we’re the auto industry’s leading credit card processor.

PS – Check out our tips for getting the most out of your next trade show here and here.

PPS – Improve efficiency at your shop with these tips.

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