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From SNEWS: How to Shop a tradeshow for Display Ideas

posted Jul 7, 2011, 9:24 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 7, 2011, 9:28 AM ]
How to Shop a Tradeshow for Display Ideas

A trade show is a gold mine of visual display ideas. Exhibitors spend numerous hours and many dollars planning how to display the products they sell. After all, it is a competitive market and they often have only the trade show experience to make an impression on potential and returning buyers. So why not take their hours of preparation and display ideas back to your store?

"But, you say, how can I fit it all in? I have so much to do – viewing lines, planning buys, attending meetings, and seminars." 

If how your store looks and how product sells through is important to you, you'll find the time. And, it doesn't take a ton of it. It only takes making display ideas a focus and goal. When you do, you’ll find ideas everywhere.

What to look for:

  • Use of color – how color interacts with the products on display and how it attracts attention.
  • Interesting materials – flooring, walls, props.
  • Displays – ones that are easy to re-create.
  • Lighting – how and what kind is used.
  • Signage – does it work as a silent salesperson?
  • Product presentation – how product hangs on walls, sits on shelves, looks in display cases.
  • Props – what items the exhibitors use to tell stories about the product.
  • Motion and sound in the booths – water features, computers and videos.

Here are some steps to make "mining" for ideas easier and faster:

1. Categorize the products that you will focus on. Determine beforehand what products you have the most difficulty displaying and spend your time finding ideas for displaying those items that you can take back to the store. It will allow you to use your time efficiently.

2. Keep a small spiral notebook in your pack with a pen ready to jot down ideas and displays you see. Or, better yet, ask permission from exhibitors to take digital photos of your favorite displays.

3. When you spot an idea you really like, ask the exhibitor about the display materials used. Find out where they came from and jot down the source. You can find those sources online when you return home.

4. If you can't find time during the show hours, stay a half hour after the show closes to do a quick look for display ideas. If you do that for the first three days you'll amass a good amount of quality search time.

5. Share your display ideas with other retailers and ask them to keep an eye out for ideas you can use. After all, tradeshows cover a lot of territory so engaging help finding ideas is a smart way to maximize your time.

 To learn more about the science and technique of merchandising in your store, from basic skills and designing store layouts, to color, lighting, and more advanced skills, as well as merchandising examples from past Merchandising Tours, be sure you're enrolled as a student in the SNEWS® Retail College, an affiliate of the OIA Outdoor University.

SNEWS superstar

The SmartWool booth emphasized color.

At Aladdin they played with product presentation.

The Prana team told a story.