There’s no denying it; trade shows are fiercely competitive. In a ten by ten-foot square, you need to grab attention, display your business’s finest goods, and convince the masses that you are “the next big thing.” That is not an easy task, especially when fifty other companies in fifty adjacent squares are vying for the same people’s attention with their best and brightest products. It just so happens that all fifty are also exclaiming that they too are “the next big thing.”
How do you utilize your limited trade show space to the maximum effect? Every stall needs an assortment of equipment and accessories. Depending on how many products you’re showcasing, you’ll want at least two or three display tables, information panels, and one outstanding attention-grabber. Your space is limited, so every piece of equipment needs to accomplish specific purposes. Deciding what to bring may be a challenging process.
The best decision comes down to balancing the three competing factors of trade show equipment
Aesthetics - Does it look the part?
Utility - Does the booth transport, set up, and function smoothly?
Cost - Is the equipment value for money?
You won’t have space to share everything. Pick accessories that support a unified theme. Uniformity helps participants grasp the general gist quickly and sparks interest and satisfaction in a well-organized setup. Think about a visitor recommending your booth to someone on the far side of the show. If they forget your company’s name, could they still describe it based on the theme? “The one with all the orange and blue” or “The stall with all the neon lights.”
Industries hold trade shows in well-lit buildings and at times, outdoors. Time restraints mean that most visitors will not spend time in every booth. Participants skim past dark displays, even if the products are well designed and the attendees well-trained. Humans are attracted to light like moths. The entire stall doesn’t need to be gaslit, though. Use lighting fixtures to highlight the focus of your booth and draw attention to key products and displays.
The ‘X’ factor
As trade shows are so competitive, it’s vital to have some form of the ‘X’ factor - something that sets you apart from the lights and colors all around. Food samples, mega balloons, hands-on exhibits, and unusual vinyl graphics can all contribute to this elusive quality. However, 3D printed props, such as a four-foot-tall iPhone for a tech company or a stand-alone logo as big as an adult, are great examples of accessories that make a booth stand out. If you’re curious about 3D design and signage options, we can show you just how simple they are to create.
Think of your booth as a busy intersection at rush hour. Some intersections aren’t built to accommodate the number of vehicles on the road. These become backed up, frustrating drivers and causing knowledgeable commuters to avoid the space altogether. On the other hand, well-planned intersections allow traffic to flow consistently without traffic jams. Ways to maintain flow at a trade show include:
Avoiding long-duration exhibits.
Having an obvious entrance and exit help reduce constant side stepping.
Avoiding “dead end” displays where a participant has to back away to move on.
Using a large font size encourages people to read from a distance rather than crowding in close to displays to read them.
Transport and Storage
Carefully thought-out equipment is convenient for your teams to set up and pack down. Ideally, it should all easily fit through a double door and be light enough that two people can move it. Some go-to equipment might include:
Collapsible Stand-up Desks
Display Panels on Wheels
Battery-Powered Lighting (The nearest power outlet may not be close.)
Lightweight Banners & Graphics
3D Printed Items
Many trade shows occur annually, and for some industries, much more frequently. Consider props, desks, and display panels that have the potential to adapt as your product line changes and advances over time. This forethought will allow you to reuse base features repeatedly, rather than organizing booths from scratch every time.
As practically all things do, trade show equipment will cost money. If you nail the aesthetics and utility of your setup, there is a good chance you’ve blown the budget. If you plan to attend multiple trade shows, it can certainly be worth investing in more expensive and durable equipment rather than boards that are thrown out after their day on display. In many ways, trade shows follow the familiar pattern - you get out of it what you put into it.
A Final Note:
Apart from beating out the competition, trade shows are great opportunities to swap innovative ideas and connect with others in the industry. In fact, approaching trade shows with a cooperative mindset may be the most beneficial for your business. Whichever viewpoint on trade shows you take, an intimidating battleground or a networking event, how you design your equipment and accessories makes a huge difference. It can make setting up and participating in trade shows easy and profitable experiences.