When you’re setting up the layout for your booth, you may feel overwhelmed by the endless advice that goes along with it. Trying to use someone else’s concept without understanding the reasons behind the design may often end in frustration—or worse, a design that resembles Frankenstein’s Monster and refuses to function properly. If you follow the basic principles below, however, you’ll have a deeper understanding of that perfect booth layout that will make it easier for you to create the display of your dreams.
Your Pre-Show Checklist
Start with inventory. You don’t want to run out of inventory during the show, which will immediately mean lost income. Instead, make sure that you have a good sample of your best sellers on hand. It’s always better to overestimate and pack up inventory to bring it home than it is to underestimate and have to turn customers away!
Note the supplies. There are several supplies you’ll want to make sure come along with you, including:
- Office supplies
- Any sales-related materials that you need to sell your products
As you’re getting ready to set up your booth, make sure that you consider all the important elements before you get started.
Traffic Flow: Where is your booth positioned? On what sides will it be surrounded when customers begin pouring in? If there’s a specific order in which you would like customers to experience the items at your booth, make sure you create a design that reflects it.
Lighting: Make sure that there’s plenty of lighting for customers to see your items. Some items need better light than others: jewelry, for example, simply looks better when it’s allowed to sparkle. Scout out the lighting conditions ahead of time and be prepared to provide extra light sources of your own if necessary.
Branding: Your goal should always be to have customers remember your brand name when they leave. Ideally, you want to positon brand names in a spot that can be seen even when the booth s very crowded. This accomplishes two things: first, it makes you more memorable to your customers so that they’ll remember to check out what you’re offering in the future; and second, it makes certain that customers who are looking for your booth will be able to find you even in crowded conditions. It’s also great for any press covering the show, since your sign will be sure to stand out in pictures.
Business Cards: Your business cards are your best chance of getting into contact with customers after the show is over. Make sure that they’re easily accessible in an area that doesn’t require customers to be drawn into the main flow of the booth. Shy or socially inept customers who don’t want to be drawn into conversation will appreciate it if they can pick up business cards near the edge of your display without having to engage with you.
Your Workspace: How much space do you need to charge customers, store business cards, and store small items? Don’t forget to include space for yourself in your display plans!
Keep It Neat: Boxes, hand trucks, electric cords, and other detritus need to stay out of sight during the trade show in order to create the quality display your customers are looking for. Don’t forget to tuck that half-eaten sandwich out of sight when there are customers at your booth! A professional appearance goes a long way toward encouraging the respect of your customers.
Crafting the Display
When you create your display, make sure that you keep these basic principles in mind.
Crowding: Keep your displays full, but don’t cram them. Leave the opportunity for some high-profit items to stand out by leaving negative space around them.
Grouping: Create a sequential experience for visitors to your booth. Group similar items together to give your visitors an experience that’s easy to browse.
Visibility: The eye line is key. Position high-profit items where they’re more likely to encourage customers to check them out. If they’re rushing through the aisles, customers are more likely to see products that are placed higher than they are those that are spread on a table.
A few basics to keep in mind:
- Lightweight materials are easier to set up and tear down. 1” x 2” woo for frames, luan boards, or MDF make great trade show booths.
- Plan to reuse. Ideally, you want to have a display that can be used on more than one occasion. Avoid screwing it together every time. Heavy clamps are a great alternative!
You can find inspiration in as many Pinterest boards as you wish and use elements from all your favorite trade show booths. It’s important, however, to understand where the design elements of those displays are coming from. Don’t try to recycle or mix ideas from different concepts without keeping these guiding principles firmly in effect.
What are your display ideas?