You don’t get long to make a first impression. It takes only seconds for someone to walk past your trade show booth, so that’s all you’ll have to attract their attention. Effective product displays help make your case for you by highlighting what’s great about your products.
Make Your Trade Show Product Display the Best with These 8 Tips
What makes a product display work? If your exhibit display isn’t getting the results you want, you can add new elements, such as tension fabric displays, banner stands, and other display accessories. But if you don’t add new elements with care, you may end up with an overcrowded, messy display.
There’s no single element that spells the difference between success and failure. Instead, think about the big picture: What do people see when they walk past your booth? And how are you using trade show displays to make your products look their best? If you think your booth could use some improvement, there are many display solutions and trade show accessories that can help your products work harder.
1. Use the display to build your brand.
Showing off your products might be your main goal, but there’s no reason you can’t use one or more display systems to highlight your brand at the same time. Product displays can incorporate branded graphics, product information, and other content. This emphasizes the connection between your brand and your brand’s products. And it provides answers to common visitor questions at the same time.
Some display options include:
- Use branded graphics on custom-printed banners, cloth tension displays, and other structural elements – Almost any flat structural surface can do double-duty as an information display.
- Branded carpeting – Show off your company logo on the trade show flooring at the entry points to your booth, or in front of the displays that showcase your flagship products.
- Branded countertops – Display your company logo and product information on demonstration countertops. When there’s no demonstration in session, this can serve as another information display.
- Make the little things count – Smaller elements, such as sign holders, sign frames, and stands, can contribute to your branded message. While you may not use them to display your company logo, if they’re in your logo colors, they’ll add to the overall look.
2. Use lighting to showcase flagship products.
If you have one or two products that you feel really represent your brand—or that you’re trying to push to trade show attendees—use display elements to highlight them. This works particularly well if they’re also valuable products. Combine eye-catching lighting with your product locked in a display case, and your product will really stand out. Group smaller products in light boxes or backlit displays, both to draw attention and to help people see them more clearly.
Spotlighting effects for highlighting specific products is best done with a smaller number of single-color lights. White usually works great for spotlighting, but a color that’s strongly associated with your brand may work too. Another option is to use LED displays to highlight products and display information.
Want your lighting to act as a more general attention-grabbing device? Go for something more colorful, with a large number of lights. For instance, add track lighting around the perimeter of the trade show exhibit, or mount a light display in the vertical space above the main booth structure. If you already have a hanging sign above your booth, lighting could be an effective way to make it pop.
3. Keep the display in proportion with the product.
When you’re creating a product display, take size into account. Large products tend to look best if they’re arranged singly or in small groups. If items are large enough to sit on the floor, group each one with a kiosk or graphic that provides information.
If your display includes multiple small products, arrange them in clusters to better show off the variety. Wall-mounted display options work well for small items. Then you can then use the interior of the booth space for demonstrations and meetings.
Tabletop displays can also work well for most product sizes. If you’re holding product demonstrations, a tabletop display can double as a demo counter too.
4. Leave plenty of room for movement.
The rule of negative space applies in building effective trade show product displays just as it does in art and graphic design. Your product displays will be more eye-catching and engaging if they don’t have to compete for attention. Space out your displays around your trade show booth, and make sure there’s room for movement in between each one.
If your trade show booth is feeling a little cramped, consider whether changing up one or two displays might help it feel more spacious. For instance, if you mostly have floor and tabletop displays, converting one or more into hanging displays or wall-mounted displays would free up floor space.
5. Highlight what makes you unique.
Sometimes it’s not necessarily the product that a display needs to highlight. What makes products like VR headsets, computers, kitchenware, etc. special is how people use them, not exactly the products themselves. If your product falls into that category, build your displays to include custom-printed graphics that depict people using and enjoying the product. This approach also works if you’re providing a service, rather than a product. Well-designed graphics can convey what you do, and what makes your service the best option.
Pro Tip: Graphics are great. Human interaction is better. You could allow visitors to actually interact with your product or plan for a product demonstration (see #7).
6. Use the perimeter of the space.
It’s important that your trade show booth isn’t overstuffed with displays and other elements. But it’s also important to use the different zones in your booth in appropriate ways. Although the perimeter of a trade show booth is often overlooked, this part of the space can be put to good use to draw in foot traffic. People walking past your exhibit are looking at what’s going on either side of them. If they see something interesting in your display in those split-seconds, they’ll consider stopping. Use the perimeter for engaging content, such as a looping video clip or slideshow presentation, to hook people as they walk by. For instance, you might add monitor kiosks around the edge of your booth to display presentations and other promotional content.
7. Include a demonstration.
An engaging product demonstration is another effective way to draw in foot traffic. A product demo ensures that your booth looks active and engaging to passersbys, and it showcases what’s cool about your products, allowing you to give more details than is possible on a graphic.
8. Promote your trade show exhibit in other channels.
It’s not enough to sit and wait for people to happen by. The most effective trade show booths are the ones that actively engage people using a variety of different channels. Social media is too important to ignore, so be sure to stay active during the show. Use the show’s official hashtag for each tweet or post, so that attendees have an additional chance to discover you. And, be sure to use the Stories feature on each platform you post on, to help your followers stay up-to-date with your activity.
You can use social media to:
- Highlight the products you’re showcasing in your booth with photos and video clips.
- Livestream your product demonstrations on Facebook or Instagram – Let people know when demos are scheduled. Attendees who see clips on social media might decide to attend the next scheduled demo.
If you use monitor kiosks in your booth, another option is to use them to display your social media content. For instance, alternate your presentation or slide show display with a quick look at your Twitter feed—or the event feed, if your own isn’t lively enough.
4 More Unique Ways to Display Products
While there are tried-and-true elements—like lighting—that work well in product displays, there’s nothing wrong with thinking outside the box! When you go the extra mile to create something impressive, you’ll be repaid with a busy booth that helps you pull in traffic and generate leads. Try something like this:
- Build a set-piece – Showing is always more effective than telling, so build a booth that shows people your products in action. Use customized display elements and graphics to create an environment that mimics a place where people might buy or use your products.
- Engage the senses – Product displays are much more interesting when they let people do more than look. Let people touch and handle the product, and even smell or taste if it’s appropriate.
- Incorporate a living element – Add a living wall of plants or foliage, or use a display of fruit or flowers, to add a tactile element that engages the senses.
- Scale up – Do you have a signature product that’s strongly associated with your brand? Or, do you manufacture products that are too small to attract the attention of people passing by the booth? Consider having some large-scale copies of the products made. Oversized items tend to trigger a sense of wonder that’s hard to replicate, making them great attention-grabbers. Larger-than-life models are also a useful way to help people visualize small or complex items.
Yakima Chief Hops, a family-owned hop farm in the Pacific Northwest, and our team at ProExhibits put a lot of thought into how to most effectively display their products. They asked us to create several different trade show booths—for use in Europe, Asia, and North America—that all focused on interactivity and engaging the senses while showcasing their primary product—hops—and providing room for taste-testing.
To do this, ProExhibits custom designed an exhibit display that mimics a bar environment, with an interactive hops station alongside the bar. Each booth that ProExhibits devised includes two defined custom display areas for trade show product displays: one for hops, and one for beer brewed using those hops. At the hops station, visitors can see, touch, and smell the hops. The beer station incorporates pouring taps, stools, and other elements common in a typical bar environment.
The end result has been a set of highly engaging and successful booths and a brand that’s very pleased with the splash it’s making in the global market.
Great Displays Help You Compete and Win
There’s no such thing as a quiet trade show. It’s full of brands competing for attention and visitors whose attention is constantly being grabbed every which way. Engaging product displays can make all the difference in the success of your trade show booth by ensuring that the few seconds you get to compete focus on the right things.