Trade Show Best Practices
Trends in trade show best practices are focusing on engaging the customer experience in a variety of ways. Companies can create tangible products on the spot, allowing customers to customize the product, see how it is made, gain valuable understanding of the process, and have a unique item to take home and share. Some companies are utilizing impressive technologies such as robots and virtual reality to engage customers and attract attention. Other companies are capitalizing on the needs of customers to have a place to rest during tiring trade shows, and these companies are attracting customers by creating exhibits that offer inviting chairs and a relaxing environment, which are conducive to photo opportunities and extended conversations.
Real-Time Product Creations
- A current creative trend is when companies create their products in real-time for customers to take away a personalized item. Customers can interact with the creation of the product by seeing how the product is actually created, ask questions related to the product while it is being made, and even customize aspects of the final product.
- For example, Sole Revival offered customers the option to pick a shoe from their selection or bring their own, and then have artists personalize the shoes with logos, phrases, or graphics.
- Real-time creation allows customers to interact with the product and artists on a personal level, and have a physical item with a story to take home and share with friends and other business colleagues. It also provides a highly interactive experience for the customer with both the artisan, brand, and physical item.
- Another example of real-time creation was by DSS, an apparel printing company, where customers could choose a t-shirt design, t-shirt color, and ink color. Customers were able to see how their t-shirts were screen-printed while allowing the exhibitor to talk about the brand and printing process. Again, customers took away a customized product, enhanced understanding of the process, and a memorable experience.
Technology — Robots and Virtual Reality
- Robots are a highly interactive and impressive way to attract customers. The FURO-D Robot by Advanced Robot Solutions is 5'3" tall, and is able to talk and interact in real-time with customers. The robot can roam around the exhibit hall to attract customers to the booth, and can be programmed to answer questions related to the company in conversation form, even scanning name badges and addressing customers by name. The robot also has a customizable touchscreen for customers to interact with to watch slideshows and videos, and can capture email addresses and other information. The robot creates a very memorable interaction, and people will want to take photos of themselves with the robot to share with friends after the event. In addition to attracting customers and creating an interesting story for them to share, the robot serves a practical purpose of gathering information to be used after the trade show.
- Using Virtual Reality is another technology trend used to create a personalized and memorable customer experience. Car companies like Ford used virtual driving games to allow customers to virtually test drive race cars, making the experience like a game. Adding video walls and other interactive elements can further engage customers in a very personalized way with the product.
Relax and Recharge
- Another trend is to make exhibits into places where attendees can sit and relax, as well as charge electronic devices. Customers are grateful for a place to sit during a long day of exhibits, and this may encourage them to stay and chat longer, such as at a McDonald's exhibit with tables for eating and lounge chairs.
- Adding charging stations for phones and laptops gives an additional incentive for people to stay longer, giving exhibitors more chance to engage in conversation.
- Providing a park-like experience can also attract customers to sit and unwind, such as Filson's outdoor environment at the Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show in Denver. In addition to creating a much sought-after resting spot, creative branding in this setting can lead to unique photo opportunities for attendees, such as putting a brand name at the bottom of a koi pond.