“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” -William Morris
An Introduction to Trade Show Supplies
Trade show supplies– giveaways, screens, lights, design styles, you name it– are always being innovated. It’s like consumer tech– Do I have the latest? How do I even use this? I miss the simpler things…
But each of your trade show supplies should have one thing in common with all the others: you should know exactly how it’s helping you reach your goals.
If you stick with that pervading wisdom, you can slash your stress, setup/teardown time, and budget. Here are some simple, often-overlooked trade show supplies that can’t go out of style.
(One of them is even free….)
Trade Show Supplies to Give You an Edge
1. Extra Business Card Dispensers
Don’t be shy when it comes to your business cards. Feel free to make them matte-coated, extra thick, grainy and eco-friendly, or even wood or metal. Anything to make your card stand out in a stack or a memory.
And then scatter them around your booth like cheese on pizza. Set or affix business card holders and dispensers everywhere. Different eye-catching types or a matching set, just stay on-brand and remember your aesthetics. Set up one for every ten square feet of booth space if you can make it look good.
If people consciously notice just how many of these contraptions you have set up, it’ll be a little characteristic to remember—“Did you see how many cardholders they had? And somehow, it even looked good!”
Which leads us to trade show supply #2.
2. A Story
How do you make people remember you? Give them a story to tell and retell themselves after they leave. Maybe you’ll be the topic of discussion over drinks with colleagues that night. “Did you see how many card holders they had? I counted at least eight–and somehow, it still looked good!”
A “story” can start as simply as, “Now if you look on the back of my card, you’ll see….”
An especially charismatic or funny staff member can become a story too. Get attendees who don’t know each other talking and moderate the discussion. Ask off-the-wall questions. See if you can playfully argue someone out of an opinion and back into it again. Anything to make them think, “Huh, that was fun.”
Learn About Virtual Exhibits
Seating might be one of the most overlooked trade show supplies out there. Everyone’s tired; everyone’s been standing and walking for a thousand hours. A chair or two gives them a reason to be glad they found your booth and associate good feelings with it; it also gives you the easiest possible way to engage them in conversation.
No matter how perfect your trade show booth design is, without proper lighting, no one will be able to appreciate what you’ve created. Don’t assume that the lighting at the event venue will be sufficient to make your booth stand out. Trade show lighting comes in many different forms, from simple lamps to branded LED lightboxes. You should be strategic about the type of lighting you choose and the placement in order to generate the biggest impact.
5. All the Small Things
On the day of the trade show, you will want to come prepared with all the little things you might need, because even the best laid plans can go haywire! Write down a checklist beforehand that includes plenty of pens, business cards, extension cords, sharpies, tape, post-it notes, laptop(s), basic first aid supplies, some all-in-one tools, and any other office supplies that might come in handy.
Utilizing Trade Show Banners
Trade show banners are one form of trade show supplies that can help bring your story to life. But an ugly or difficult-to-read banner may be worse than nothing at all! To be effective, trade show banners should be clearly legible, vibrant, simple, informational, in line with your brand, and as engaging as possible.
Important Considerations for Trade Show Supplies
When selecting trade show supplies, you should think about the design of each specific object and how it fits into your overall exhibit design and aesthetic. Working with a professional trade show exhibit designer is the best way to ensure that your trade show booth is cohesive, impactful, and in line with your overall brand.
Beautifully designed trade show supplies can get expensive. To keep costs to a minimum, consider renting out any trade show supplies you need rather than buying each and everything on your list. You can either rent out an entire trade show exhibit or just a few of the more expensive items.
Beyond simply saving you money, trade show rentals offer greater flexibility, allowing you to change your setup for different trade show events. You can also “try before you buy” and see how different trade show supplies work for you and which are most impactful.
Another thing to think about when selecting trade show supplies is everything that goes on behind the scenes. When not being used, trade show supplies need to be stored and properly maintained in order to maximize their lifespan. You can either manage your trade show inventory on your own, or hire a trade show support service to take care of it all for you.
Sustainable Trade Show Supplies and Giveaways
Sustainability is another important aspect that you should think about when choosing your trade show supplies. Whenever possible, reduce, reuse, recycle, or rent!
Use green materials whenever you can, and avoid single-use plastic at all costs. Also, if you’re buying a new trade show exhibit, you should design it in a way that will allow you to reuse it (and update it as needed) year after year. If you think you will be updating your trade show display frequently, renting your supplies and equipment can help you reduce waste.
Another way to reduce waste is to go digital with your banners and displays; with digital signage, you can simply update the text and graphics rather than get new signs printed every single time you want to adjust your branding or messaging.
Need More Inspiration for Trade Show Supplies?
Of course – everyone in business knows there’s no such thing as too much inspiration.
Reach out to our team of all-stars today to start bouncing ideas around about trade show supplies, booth designs, and everything else to do with crushing it at your next trade show!