What Does The Future Hold For The Trade Show Industry?6 min read

5 Trends to Watch Out For

Research shows that there are just over 30 million small businesses in the United States of America, and that these make up 99.9% of all US companies. And trade shows remain an effective method of showcasing products and networking with businesses, customers, and possible partners.

Even though the use of digital marketing channels has taken hold in recent years, trade shows remain one of the most profitable business-to-business advertising strategies on earth. Last year the global market was valued at just over US$30 billion, and it looks likely that this will increase to at least US$40 billion by 2023.

There’s no question that you need to have a presence at industry trade shows if you’re serious about maximizing yield. It’s a fantastic way to engage prospective buyers, and the technological advances we’re seeing each year means there’s always something new to look forward to. This is true for both marketers and customers.

In the wake of COVID-19, precautions and protocols may change somewhat going forward. While social distancing, capacity caps, and outdoor events may become the norm, there are other elements that businesses can focus on to really stand out when exhibiting. Those that embrace the biggest trade show trends will inevitably have the advantage.

Trend No. 1: Design That Focuses on the Customer

It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of first impressions. Experts say that 55% of our first impression consists of what we can see, 38% is made up of what we hear, and only 7% is formed by the actual words you say. And you only get to make a first impression once.

How does this translate to the trade show industry? You’ll need to make sure that your booth or display makes the impact you need it to on attendants at once. And it’s not just about having a bold design. Your product has to appeal to people on an emotional and imaginative level as well.

Focus on intuitive designs where each element combines to expedite your goal, making it crystal clear how your product or service will benefit the viewer. It’s no longer just about attention-grabbing features to draw the eye.

Think about incorporating distinctive signage, unusual fabrics, and unique textures in a way that creates a booth that’s appealing on an aesthetic level. Certain companies are even incorporating 3D mapping technology along with textured graphic displays that utilize wood and metal.

Trends are moving towards businesses delivering a booth experience rather than a mere display, so stop focusing on how many demo stations you can afford and what your square footage looks like. Start thinking like one of our potential customers, and consider whether you’re offering a comfortable interaction with your visitors.

Are you providing an interactive engagement that not only speaks to clientele but enhances their overall experience too?

Trend No. 2: A Focus on Providing Comfort

Don’t let attracting visitors to your booth make you forget the one thing that appeals to every demographic – comfort. Spending an entire day at a trade show is exhausting, and everyone will jump at the chance of sitting down whenever they can to take a break.

Making a lounge area available will not just attract people to your stand, it’ll keep them there for longer too. And while they’re taking a weight off, why not get your floor staff to deliver their pitches then?

Take things one step further and provide charging stations along with comfortable seating. Airport and shopping mall charging stations are always full, and adding USB ports to your booth will allow you to capitalize on this convenience. It may even bring in customers who might not have stopped at your booth otherwise.

Trend No. 3: Implementing the Science of Light

Incorporating lighting elements that are unique is a powerful tool that you can use to direct your visitors to particular products and displays. An unusual color scheme can be enhanced by downlights, and the clever display of monitors and 3D projection mapping lets you transform your space with projectors and lights.

Almost 50% of buyers will view between three and five items before they engage with a sales representative, and 70% report that they prefer to learn about new products via content as opposed to traditional advertising. Make what they’re seeing come alive with good lighting, interactive displays, and a clever color scheme.

Trend No. 4: Providing a Multi-Sensory Experience

You’re not limited to trying to appeal to people via just sight and sound anymore. We have five senses, and it’s time for your trade show marketing to take advantage of all of them.

Make sure your space is not only clean but offers a clear and concise message about your product or service. And provide a relatively quiet area with comfortable chairs and refreshments.

In terms of touch, allow your clients to interact with your product as much as possible. If your product isn’t a tangible one, think about providing something that is, perhaps in the form of a giveaway.

As far as the powerful effects of smell are concerned, if what you’re selling doesn’t have any kind of aroma, consider keeping snacks on hand that do, or just rely on a great-smelling hand sanitizer or similar scented product.

Trend No. 5: The Virtual Reality Boom

Studies have shown that more than 50% of consumers are more likely to purchase from operators implementing VR than those that do not.

It’s pretty obvious why this is so.

You’re proving that your business is cutting-edge, and are allowing potential clients a far more immersive experience before they buy. The best part about Virtual Reality technology is that nowadays, there’s a solution available to suit every budget, so you won’t have to worry about covering enormous costs.

You’re in the Driver’s Seat

As these five trends more than prove, there are many thrilling advances and changes happening in the trade show arena. Building off the fundamentals with these top trends will boost your success as an exhibitor. Simply optimize the ones that will do your brand the best service and make it stand out from the crowd.

Author Bio

Melony Forcier is a 20-year-old journalist from Boston, MA. Writing is her first love but she also has a great affinity for anything chocolate, pugs, cheese boards, and Harry Styles.