You don’t get long to make a first impression. It takes only seconds for someone to walk past your trade show booth, and that’s all you’ll have to attract their attention. Effective product displays help make your case for you by highlighting what’s standout about your products.
8 Tips to Make Your Trade Show Product Display the Best on the Floor
What makes a product display work? If yours 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 exhibit 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:
- 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. Lighting Up Your 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 are 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 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 banner above your exhibit, 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 use the interior of the booth space for demonstrations and meetings.
Table top displays can also work well for most product sizes. If you’re holding product demonstrations, a table top 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 exhibit 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 table top displays, converting one or more into hanging displays or wall-mounted displays frees 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 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, but human interaction is better. You could allow visitors to actually interact with your product by planning for a product demonstration (see #7) or designing an experiential trade show exhibit from the ground up.
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 you have 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 happening 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 your booth looks active and engaging to passersby, and it showcases what’s cool about your products, allowing you to give more details than is possible on a graphic.
Be sure to train your staff well—they are your brand ambassadors for the duration of the show. They should be thoroughly familiar with your products and be professional and presentable too.
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 attendees have an additional chance to discover you. And, be sure to use the Stories feature on each platform on which you post 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 slideshow 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 visitors passing by the booth? Consider having 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 mimicked a bar environment, with an interactive hops station alongside the bar. Each booth included 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 could see, touch, and smell the hops. The beer station incorporated pouring taps, stools, and other elements common in a typical bar environment.
The end result was a set of highly engaging and successful booths and a brand that was very pleased with the splash it made in the global market.
Trade Show Product Displays for Virtual Events
A virtual booth is the ultimate in portable trade show displays. Once it’s live on the virtual events platform, your virtual displays can be viewed by anyone, anywhere in the world.
But if there are no table top displays or backlit display cases to highlight your products, how do you make your virtual product displays inviting, interesting, and engaging?
Much of the advice that applies to live trade show displays applies to virtual booths too. At a virtual trade show it’s still important to:
- Reinforce your brand or company image
- Grab and hold interest
- Create space for visitor interactions
- Include a call to action
How do you do that virtually?
1. Brand Your Virtual Space.
While you don’t rely on foot traffic as much as at a live event, branded graphics are still important because they’re an integral part of your visual story. Your virtual booth should project an image that’s consistent with your company’s existing visual branding. It should also have a clear focal point that makes it easy for people to see what your primary offerings are.
Graphics are generally easy to incorporate into a virtual trade show display, provided the platform the event uses has that capability. Many virtual trade show platforms now have multiple booth footprints and sizes from which to choose, with options for inline, island, and other booth types.
Make sure to check out the event information packet for details on what kinds of files are supported, and what kinds of graphics you can upload to your booth. Some platforms may not support all kinds of image files, and some may restrict the sizes and shapes of graphics you can use in your virtual exhibit.
2. Show, Don’t Tell, with Your Virtual Product Displays.
Storytelling is always more effective when it’s accompanied by imagery. Online, it’s even more important. Your booth visitors don’t want to have to read through huge amounts of text to learn about your products. It’s vital to keep this in mind when designing trade show product displays. If your virtual booth display can provide information via video or an interactive display, do so. These options are always preferable to written material. Provide that written material as an optional download, but make the first touchpoint for important information a video or interactive presentation.
3. Include Interactive Features.
It can be more difficult to fully engage visitors in a virtual booth. And since you’re not there to see how people react, you don’t necessarily know in real time the points where people might be losing interest. By including interactive features in your virtual booth, you can hold your visitors’ attention while you display your products. Streaming video, interactive demos and information hotspots, and even chat or polls features can all help make a virtual booth more engaging.
4. Highlight and Integrate the Call to Action.
When people visit a virtual exhibit, they can’t rely on cues from you or your booth staff to tell them what to do next. Once they reach the end of your virtual product display, they’ll need a clear call-to-action (CTA) to tell them what to do next. Whatever the next steps, they should be clearly displayed and preferably integrated into the booth design.
For instance, if the next step is to schedule an appointment with a salesperson, that message should be shown to visitors who access your product display information. That could mean the final few seconds of a video or the last slide of an interactive presentation.
Integration is important too. Whatever the CTA asks visitors to do, they should ideally be able to take that action while they’re still in the booth. If it’s making an appointment, for instance, the booth should include an appointment-scheduling feature.
The alternative to integration is that visitors have to exit your booth, or use another device, to act on the CTA. In the time it takes to do that, you risk losing them to outside distractions, so it’s better not to take that chance.
Compete and Win with Great Displays
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 the few seconds you get to compete focus on the right things.