If you’ve ever attended a trade show, then you probably saw first hand that not all display booths are created equal. You get a vibe from each one the instant you look at it. Some are inviting, and others you want to steer clear of. It’s nothing personal, it’s just simply a gut feeling based on your visual perception of that display.
This is true in many aspects of business – branding, website, ads, physical store… you name it. Consumers learn a lot about a business based on the way those elements look, and your booth should look as professional, visually attractive, and inviting as your store or website does. In addition to an eye-catching design, you want to make sure your business is properly represented within your booth, containing elements that mirror what goods or services you offer.
There are many display types to choose from, but we’re going to discuss a few of the most popular, below. If you’re interested in reading about other types of displays, check out this post on business.com.
Tents create your own little space in which customers enter – sort of like an office or mobile showroom. In outdoor environments, they provide shelter from the elements on hot, or rainy days. Tents are inviting and have a secure, separate feel to them. The top of the tent is where you can get creative. That’s your opportunity to display your logo on a colour that best represents your business.
Gardening trade show and you specialize in growing sunflowers? Use a bright yellow tent to help customers make associations between your tent and your service.
Ideal for indoor events, banner stands let you surround your booth with dynamic information about your business. These are a great option for multi-faceted companies, ie. a personal training company that offers different services. Put up one banner for one-on-one training, another for your boot camp, and a third for your mission statement, and social media accounts. Banner stands are moveable and can be positioned anywhere around your table – or around your happy-go-lucky staff member who’s challenging show attendees to a squat-off. Always remember KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). The stands are an opportunity to draw attention to your booth. Too many objects—flyers, brochures, freebies— will give customers the wrong idea about your business, making them feel as if they’ve walked into a classroom with the words ‘POP QUIZ’ menacingly written across the board.
Ideal for simple services, pop-ups allow businesses to create a compact environment. These types of displays may be used as your entire setup, as a designated podium, or backdrop that is part of a larger area. Pop-ups are easy to transport and set up. They work by creating the frame for an attention-grabbing, business-relative backdrop. Now that you’ve gotten a few ideas for your next display, we’ll move onto other trade show setup elements that make for an exciting and intriguing display area. There are quite a few factors that go into creating an inviting trade show display, but they aren’t as complicated as you might think. Successful booths usually have a mix of visual, personal, and interactive elements to draw customers in. The businesses that trade show attendees normally want to visit the most are the ones that already have a crowd, or have something that they want (like food, entertainment, or freebies).
Picture this. You attend an electronics trade show and work your way through aisles of identical-looking booths. They all have a presentable, intelligent-looking staff member, eagerly awaiting your eyes to catch theirs so that they can tell you all of the fascinating facts about their product. But their display is just a banner with a logo on it… and their naked, standard folding table has a collection of flat-lying brochures – and nothing else. Where’s the excitement? They have nothing that’s calling you to visit and find out more about a product they’d most likely tell you is exciting and worth your time.
You’re about the leave the event when contrasting colours catch your eye. You hear laughter and a confident, professional voice giving instructions. Upon closer inspection, you see an energetic, happy staff member, teaching a young boy how to control a robot dog. The business is called Galactic X, but it isn’t selling robot dogs, it’s selling software. The company is simply demonstrating one of the software’s many features by using an interactive, fun, and easy-to-understand device.
Galactic X’s display table is wrapped in a stretchy stark black cloth that’s fully sublimated to match their brand and they have an array of attractive, easy-to-read information cards displayed upright. They also have a selection of promotional materials – robot dog keychains and neon wayfarer-style sunglasses (logos laser-etched on both) – spread out on tiered metallic platforms. These platforms create height, bringing colour and contrast to the black galaxy backdrop hanging behind it.
Not only is their display attractive, modern, and trade-appropriate, but the brand has also made a relaxed, interactive environment that ties their product with their theme and their brand.
Draw a Crowd
Now that you’ve seen the power that the right kind of trade show display can have, we’ll dive right into some ideas to help you plan your next booth strategy and setup. You can draw a crowd by doing several things, but we’ll give you three examples below to help you visualize the possibilities.
Have something physical to sell
Say you’re one of the many exciting businesses at a cookware show. You have an amazing set of knives to sell – they’re top-notch and you know it. While they certainly look shiny and sharp, sometimes consumers need to visually see a product in action before they commit to buying it. Not only do you have a chef effortlessly slicing through tomatoes, he’s making bruschetta to give to customers too, and how convenient it is that you also have those knives for sale – right from the booth. Customers don’t have to wait 10 business days for delivery, they can take them home and use them that very night.
Invite your existing customers
Include information about the trade show in your weekly newsletter. You may be asking, why would existing customers want to come to this event when they already buy from you? Well, that’s where it gets exciting. You can use trade shows to introduce your existing customers to new products and services that your business offers, alongside attracting new ones. Always remember: it’s 10x cheaper to keep existing customers, than it is to find new ones— but let’s work on doing both! For example, if you are a nutrition company that has just launched a new superfood snack, you may consider handing out samples of that snack to attendees. Everyone loves a free sample.
Create an inviting area
Trade show attendees that aren’t familiar with your business will be more likely to want to find out more about it if you have an inviting booth. The right kind of display, staff, and activities at your booth will be what makes someone decide whether or not it’s worth visiting. In the next section of this post, we’ll go over some attention-grabbing ways to make your booth more enticing.
Make your Booth Exciting!
No matter how to dress up your booth, it’s always smart to keep the front of it open from obstructions. This allows traffic to flow in and out, instead of making it difficult or uncomfortable for a customer to enter.
Another good tip to follow—if possible—is to choose a booth in a high-traffic area, or near the entrance of the room. You’ll be the first business customers see and you have the chance to make a lasting impression before other businesses do.
- Open Space – leave some space for customers to come in. Depending on what your business is, you may attract quite the crowd of onlookers or those waiting in line for a freebie. Give them space.
- Stand-out details – eye-catching is key! Try bold colours, modern metallics, or natural details that add to your theme. I.e. if you’re a natural beauty company, try outfitting your booth with the natural materials you use, like bunches of dried lavender or chunks of beeswax.
- Interactive elements – If possible, let customers get involved. Using the same natural beauty company as above, for example, have a tutorial that lets customers mix up lip balm and take it home.
- Simple design – sometimes, simple is best. If you’re selling a product – say an ultra-soft, neck supportive pillow – you want the colours of your display area to be light, simple, and relaxing. You don’t need striking details. Using the right calming colours will get your product the attention it needs. Add a soothing essential oil diffuser and your area is complete!
- Get the right staff – have an engaging, professional, and friendly representative plays an important role in creating an inviting environment.
No consumer wants to feel forced into learning about a business, they want to feel like it was their choice to approach your booth. The right staff member and an interactive display work together hand in hand.
We hope you enjoyed this post on trade show displays, and that you feel inspired to start planning your next event! For more tips on how to make your next trade show effective and memorable for customers, check out our posts on Corporate Apparel and Promotional Products. Contact us today!