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How to Succeed at Displaying Products at Trade Shows, Even if You’ve Failed Before

How To Display Products At A Trade Show


How to display products at a trade show can make or break your event’s success. Here’s a quick answer:

  • Know your product and determine display needs.
  • Design your exhibit with your product in mind.
  • Engage attendees to maximize impact.

Trade shows allow products to escape the confines of a website or catalog, granting access to curious attendees and loyal customers. A well-crafted display not only draws a crowd but also encourages meaningful engagement with your brand.

A successful product display should:

  • Visually organize product lines.
  • Draw attendees to your booth.
  • Quickly help attendees locate what they need.

Eye-catching product displays are a key support for your sales team.

By understanding your product needs and designing with care, you can create a booth that stands out and drives connections.

Steps To Display Products At Trade Shows - How To Display Products At A Trade Show Infographic Infographic-Line-5-Steps

Planning and Preparation

Preparation is the backbone of a successful trade show. Whether it’s your first time or you’ve faced challenges before, having a solid plan can make all the difference. Let’s dive into the essentials.

Setting Goals

Start with clear objectives. What do you want to achieve? Common goals include:

  • Raising brand awareness
  • Showcasing new products
  • Generating leads
  • Acquiring direct sales
  • Meeting potential partners
  • Reinforcing your industry position
  • Observing competitors
  • Staying updated on industry trends

Defining your goals helps focus your efforts and resources effectively.


Next, set your budget. Consider costs like:

  • Space rental
  • Booth design and construction
  • Travel and accommodations
  • Promotional items
  • Marketing materials

Research the trade show’s registration fees and available packages. Allocate funds wisely to ensure you cover all necessary expenses without overspending.


High-quality marketing materials are crucial. They represent your brand and leave a lasting impression.

Business Cards

Never underestimate the power of a business card. Ensure it includes:

  • Logo
  • Company name
  • Cardholder’s name and title
  • Contact number
  • Email address
  • Website URL
  • Social media icons
  • Physical address (if applicable)

Consider innovative designs or even digital business cards accessible via QR code.

Company Profile

Think of your company profile as a first date. It should tell your brand’s story, values, and product offerings concisely. Design it with your branding in mind and include it in your branded tote bags for added visibility.

Product Samples

Your products are the stars of your booth. Display them prominently to attract buyers. Use racks, shelves, and creative displays to make them easy to see and reach. If you sell clothing, ensure everything is clean and pressed.

Sign-up Sheets

Capture leads efficiently with sign-up sheets. We recommend using an online form to collect:

  • Name
  • Company
  • Email
  • Phone number

This ensures you don’t miss out on valuable contacts.

Laptops or Tablets

Having laptops or tablets at your booth is a must. They allow you to input new contacts and let buyers explore your brand further. Have your website and a digital line sheet or lookbook ready for interested buyers.

Line Sheets or Lookbooks

Digital line sheets or lookbooks are essential. They let buyers browse your entire collection and place orders easily. Brandboom’s digital line sheets are industry-standard and can be shared via a simple link.


Everyone loves free stuff! Branded giveaways like pens, water bottles, keychains, or tote bags can draw people to your booth. Tote bags are especially effective as they display your brand around the trade show floor.

Trade Show Booth With Giveaways - How To Display Products At A Trade Show

By planning ahead and preparing the right materials, you’ll be set up for success at your next trade show. Now, let’s move on to designing your trade show booth.

Designing Your Trade Show Booth

Designing a trade show booth that captures attention and effectively displays your products can be challenging. But with the right strategies, you can make your booth a standout. Here’s how to do it:

Booth Dimensions

First, understand the dimensions of your booth. Whether you have a linear booth or an island booth, knowing the size helps you plan your layout. For example, a standard linear booth is 10′ x 10′, while an island booth is typically 20′ x 20′ and open on all sides. Peninsula booths are also an option, offering larger dimensions with three sides exposed to aisles.


Your booth layout should maximize space and flow. Avoid overcrowding by spacing out your displays. Position key elements like demo stations and seating areas in a way that encourages movement. Use the rule of negative space: leave enough room for attendees to walk around comfortably.


Signage is crucial for visibility. Invest in custom banners, posters, and promotional products. Use bright colors and easy-to-read text. Place your signs at eye level and in high-traffic areas. Your signage should communicate your brand and draw people in from a distance.

Product Presentation

How you present your products depends on your booth type and what you’re selling. For apparel, use hanging racks. For smaller items like accessories, use shelves. Group similar products together and highlight key items with spotlights. If space permits, use a small table for transactions and information exchange.


Branding goes beyond just logos. Your booth should reflect your brand’s identity. For instance, if your brand is eco-friendly, use sustainable materials in your booth design. Incorporate your brand colors throughout the booth, from the carpeting to the countertops.


Lighting can make or break your booth. Use lighting to highlight your flagship products. Consider using LED displays or spotlights to draw attention to specific items. For general attraction, colorful lights around the booth’s perimeter can be effective. Ensure your lighting is bright and even, especially if you’re setting up a photo booth or Instagram wall.

Wall Decor

Don’t neglect your walls. If hanging signs are prohibited, consider digital options like projectors or flat-screen TVs to display your logo and videos. Alternatively, create an Instagram Wall with a fun background and your brand name prominently displayed. This not only attracts visitors but also boosts your brand visibility on social media.

By carefully planning your booth’s dimensions, layout, signage, product presentation, branding, lighting, and wall decor, you can create a trade show booth that not only stands out but also effectively showcases your products. Next, let’s explore some creative product display ideas to make your booth even more engaging.

Creative Product Display Ideas

Organize Products

Effective product organization is key. It helps visitors quickly find what they need and understand your product lines. Group similar items together and use clear signage for each section. This makes it easier for attendees to navigate your booth and engage with your products.

Focal Point

Decide if your product will be the star of the show or support your brand. If it’s the focal point, design your booth to highlight it. Use lighting and placement to draw attention. If your product supports the brand, integrate it seamlessly into your overall booth design.

Structural Support

Different products have different needs. Heavy items need sturdy supports. For example, Mate Precision Tooling used podiums for large machinery and shelves for smaller items. Ensure your display structures are safe and suitable for your product’s weight and size.


Many products need power for demonstrations. Plan your electrical setup in advance. Use cord management solutions to keep things tidy and safe. Always have backup extension cords or power strips in your emergency kit.

Secure Storage

After show hours, you’ll need to store your products securely. Use lockable storage spaces like custom counters or a walk-in storage room. This keeps your products safe and gives you peace of mind.

Complementary Displays

If your product isn’t the main attraction, use complementary displays to support your brand. This can be additional signage, brochures, or smaller items that enhance your main product. The goal is to create a cohesive and engaging booth experience.

By organizing your products, creating a focal point, ensuring structural support, planning for electricity, securing storage, and using complementary displays, you can create a booth that stands out and attracts visitors. Next, we’ll discuss how to engage attendees and maximize your impact at the trade show.

Engaging Attendees and Maximizing Impact

Engaging attendees is key to a successful trade show. Here are some proven strategies to draw people in and keep them interested.

Raffles and Contests

Everyone loves a chance to win something. Raffles and contests can be a great way to attract visitors. You can use simple methods like a prize wheel or a counting contest. For example, Yakima Chief Hops used an interactive hops station that included taste-testing, making their booth highly engaging.

Tip: Spread the contest over the day to ensure people revisit your booth.


Creating a unique hashtag for your booth can boost your social media presence. Encourage visitors to take photos at your booth and share them using your hashtag. An Instagram Wall with a cool backdrop can make this even more effective.

Pro Tip: Ensure the lighting is bright and even so that people are happy with their photos.


Free food is a crowd-puller. Offering snacks or treats at your booth can draw in visitors. If you’re allowed, set up a small snack station.

Example: ProExhibits created a bar-like environment for Yakima Chief Hops, complete with pouring taps and stools, making it a hit.

Inform Buyers

Once your trade show dates are confirmed, inform your buyers. Post the information on your website, send out email blasts, and share it on social media. Include the trade show name, location, date, and your booth number.

Creative Ways to Connect

Think outside the box to make connections. Here are some ideas:

  • Raffle/Contest: Collect business cards for a raffle.
  • Hashtag: Encourage social media tagging.
  • Treats: Offer snacks to draw people in.

Fun & Games

Games can make your booth memorable. Jumbo Connect 4, pong tables, or even live animals related to your brand can attract attention.

Note: Always check the trade show rules and regulations beforehand.

Booth Activities

Interactive booth activities can keep visitors engaged. Consider having mini golf, trivia, or photo booths. These activities not only attract visitors but also give you a chance to start conversations and make connections.


People love free stuff. Custom promotional items like pens, tote bags, or T-shirts can make a lasting impression. Make sure these items are branded with your company name or logo.

Pro Tip: Use high-quality items to convey professionalism.

Example: Yakima Chief Hops included branded items in their booths, making them memorable and professional.

By implementing these strategies, you can engage attendees effectively and maximize your impact at the trade show. Next, we’ll address some frequently asked questions about displaying products at trade shows.

Frequently Asked Questions about Displaying Products at Trade Shows

How do you display a product in an exhibition?

Displaying a product at a trade show requires careful planning and creativity. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Know Your Product: Understand your product’s size, weight, and any special requirements like electricity or structural support. This will help you choose the right type of display.

  • Organize Products Visually: Group similar products together and use clear signage to help attendees quickly find what they need. For example, Nimlok’s exhibit for Mate Precision Tooling used shelves, counters, and podiums to showcase different product sizes effectively.

  • Create a Focal Point: Make your main product the star of your booth. Use lighting, banners, and strategic placement to draw attention to it.

  • Interactive Elements: Incorporate touch screens or live demonstrations. For instance, using digital screens to show demo videos can be highly effective if face-to-face demos aren’t possible.

  • Secure Storage: Ensure you have lockable storage for your products when the show is closed. Custom counters or walk-in storage rooms can be very useful.

How much does it cost to display at a trade show?

The cost of displaying at a trade show can vary widely based on several factors:

  • Booth Space: The size and location of your booth can significantly impact the cost. Prime locations usually cost more.

  • Design and Build: Custom-designed booths can be expensive. For example, using high-quality materials and hiring a professional designer can add to the cost.

  • Travel and Logistics: Don’t forget to factor in travel, accommodation, and shipping costs for your products and booth materials.

  • Additional Services: Services like electricity, internet, and cleaning can add up. Make sure to budget for these extras.

  • Marketing Collateral: Brochures, business cards, and promotional items also add to the overall cost.

How do you make a trade show display stand out?

Making your trade show display stand out involves a combination of creativity, strategy, and attention to detail:

  • Unique Design: Use eye-catching graphics and innovative design elements. Branded graphics and product information should be clear and engaging.

  • Interactive Features: Incorporate elements like touch screens, live demos, or even games to attract and engage attendees. For example, 70% of respondents in a recent survey said that interactive elements helped them generate more leads and brand awareness.

  • Lighting: Good lighting can make your booth more inviting. Use spotlights to highlight key products and create a welcoming atmosphere.

  • Professional Staff: Train your staff to be friendly and knowledgeable. They should be able to engage visitors and answer questions effectively.

  • Memorable Giveaways: High-quality, branded giveaways can leave a lasting impression. Think beyond pens and keychains; items like branded tote bags or tech gadgets can be more impactful.

By following these tips, you can create a trade show display that not only attracts visitors but also leaves a lasting impression.


Displaying products at trade shows can be a game-changer for your business, helping you generate leads, build brand awareness, and make lasting connections. Even if you’ve faced challenges in the past, with the right approach, you can turn things around.

At OneStop Northwest, we understand the complexities of trade show displays and are here to help you succeed. From creative product display ideas to engaging booth activities, our team is dedicated to making your next trade show a success.

Why Choose OneStop Northwest?

  1. Expertise and Experience: With years of experience in the industry, we know what works and what doesn’t. Our team is well-versed in the latest trends and best practices for trade show displays.

  2. Custom Solutions: We offer tailored solutions that fit your unique needs. Whether you need a small booth or a large exhibit, we can design and build a display that stands out.

  3. High-Quality Materials: We use only the best materials to ensure your display is durable and visually appealing. Quality is our top priority.

  4. Comprehensive Services: From design to setup, we handle everything. This allows you to focus on your core business while we take care of the details.

  5. Customer Satisfaction: Our clients are our top priority. We work closely with you to ensure your vision is brought to life. Your success is our success.

Ready to make your next trade show a hit? Contact OneStop Northwest today to learn more about our services and how we can help you display your products effectively.

By partnering with us, you can be confident that your trade show display will not only attract visitors but also leave a lasting impression. Let’s make your next event a memorable one!