Trade shows—and trade show booths—are always evolving. Pursuing new trends, new ideas, and new designs to attract visitors and win new leads and customers should be a constant goal. Two months into the new year, and a few trade show trends are starting to emerge. Exhibits are focusing on designs that enhance the customer experience in ways that are subtle but have a big impact.
1. Focus on Customer-Oriented Design
The overall trend in 2019 is toward customer-oriented booth design. Instead of going all-out with a trade show display that commands attention, 2019 is about subtlety. The industry is thinking more about what specific needs customers and visitors have and about ways to use booth design to meet them.
This is effective because it can evoke an emotional response, rather than bombarding them with over-the-top branding, which may make them remember your colors, but won’t encourage them to feel anything. If you can meet someone’s immediate needs, a visitor to your booth feels good while they’re with you, making them more receptive to you and your message.
2. Provide a Comfortable, Relaxed Environment
In recent years there’s been a lot of emphasis on flashy, attention-grabbing booth designs. This year, trade show trends are about scaling back to create booth experiences that are less overwhelming. The 2019 booth is still eye-catching, but now the emphasis is on human-centric design that provides a more relaxed experience.
Think comfortable chairs, easy-access charging stations, and even snacks and water coolers. Trade shows are busy and exhausting. Providing these simple comforts evokes a positive emotional response. Make your booth an oasis of calm—as much as possible in a noisy, crowded environment! And that emotional response will help you connect with potential leads and customers.
Another concept to keep in mind is reducing clutter. It’s all the rage in home interior design, thanks to the organizing consultant and author Marie Kondo. And it’s important in booth design too. It’s more difficult when the space you’re working with is limited, but nobody—staff nor visitors—enjoys weaving their way through crowded displays or demo stands.
Instead of cramming as many things into a booth as possible, leave some open space in your exhibit design. People will be able to walk around more easily, and they’ll feel more relaxed in your booth and ready to engage with you. A more open space in which to work is great for your booth staff too. They’ll feel more comfortable and relaxed and will interact more positively with visitors.
Paring down your booth doesn’t mean it has to be boring. It means you’re being thoughtful about what you include. Focus on providing an engaging experience, without overwhelming your visitors. They’ll be better able to engage with your content and will be more receptive to your pitch.
3. Create a Multi-Sensory Experience
Most booths focus on sight and sound to attract trade show attendees, but what about the other senses? Grabbing foot traffic with touch or taste may be a bit difficult, but smell is a definite possibility. Smell is the most evocative and emotional of the senses, which means scent marketing has potential in the trade show environment. It’s an underused technique, so choosing the right scent—hot, fresh coffee, anyone?—could be a winner.
Depending on your industry and the kind of booth you’re operating, there may also be the chance to add touch and taste into your design. Hands-on demonstrations and touchscreens are generally good ways to do this. Taste is an easy one if you’re in the food industry. Otherwise, offering some simple snacks is another way to add this element. Consider individually-wrapped:
- Energy balls
- Cake pops
4. Let There Be Light
Light can be a fun and effective way to attract passers-by. Remembering that this year’s trade show trends are more thoughtful and less in-your-face, there are many ways to enhance your booth using light. Keep it simple, and utilize lighting to enhance and highlight, rather than making the whole exhibit a light-show.
One popular trend for 2019 is the use of back-lighting to enhance key displays. Highlight the most important info with light to draw in new visitors. Then wow them with your content and message, so they want to find out more. Backlit fabric is a great option. It’s much more lightweight than traditional lighting displays, which means you can save on drayage costs.
Also consider using unique lighting to add a pop of colorful illumination on overhead displays. These are well-placed to attract attention from across the trade show floor, but don’t detract from your marketing content once the visitor is in the booth.
5. Use Advanced Technology Thoughtfully
Advanced technology is still underused. Think:
- Virtual and augmented reality
- Holographic walls
- 360-degree video
But you can expect to see much more of it in 2019! These new tech options can provide immersive and engaging experiences that help your marketing message come alive.
But it’s important to be thoughtful when using new tech. It shouldn’t be something you add because it’s new and shiny. When you’re adding tech, it should make sense within the context of your booth. If you’re not sure what makes sense, first look at ways to add digital elements that help people engage with your material. Then see if you can build on that with some wow-level technology. This is another effective way to create a booth that’s more customer-oriented. Think about what your visitors want, and let it guide how you build the booth.
Some possible ways to use advanced tech include:
- Virtual reality product demonstrations – Using VR means you don’t need to worry about whether you have enough space for demos; the tech gives you unlimited space for each user.
- Holographic wall with images or video clips – This is great for experiential products such as travel, where clips might include people sight-seeing or enjoying a new destination.
- 360-degree video of a product or service in action or a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a new product
Working with a professional design company can really help here. They’ll turn up the trends where they see fit and temper your vision when you need it!
Build a Better Booth in 2019
Thinking about a new custom exhibit in 2019? Or are you considering upgrading your current setup? Investigate the year’s trade show trends, then contact ProExhibits. We’ll implement everything you need perfectly, so your booth is the best it can be!