Trade Show Booth Merchandising Tips

When done correctly, trade show merchandising can be a robust sales and branding tool. Attending trade shows can be daunting, but with the right visual merchandising ideas and execution, you can create a lasting impression and build trust with the right demographic for your business.

However, making a trade show a success is more complex than showing up to display your wares. To make your trade show product display successful, you need to put some work into the planning phases and create a strategy that highlights your brand and increases sales.

Why Is Trade Show Merchandising Important?

A trade show is a fantastic opportunity for your brand to exhibit your products to people who are already interested in what you offer. A trade show organized and presented correctly can leave a lasting impression in many minds, and visual merchandising at trade shows is a vital element of this impression. It is a silent salesperson positioning your brand perfectly to boost your bottom line.

combination of appealing displays and exciting giveaways can increase traffic to your booth and improve your brand image. Planning your trade show product display is critical, as poor preparation can result in the opposite — an empty booth and a forgettable brand.

8 Merchandising Tips for Trade Show Booths

Trade show merchandise displays might seem straightforward, but they require careful planning to maximize your return on investment. Keep the following tips in mind to make your booth compelling:

1. Know Your Audience

Before you decide what your display will consist of, think about who you’re building it for. Think about your perfect customer, and create a profile of their likes and dislikes. If you have a booth at a specific event, do some research. Find out as much as possible about the hosting organization, the other vendors and past events so that you understand the event’s vision. With this information, you can decide whether the event fits your brand and, if it does, the best way to set up your booth.

Contact the event organizers and ask for the demographic information on the attendees, and consider the following questions to ensure your merchandising efforts attract the right customers:

  • What is their age and demographic?
  • Why are they attending the event?
  • What would bring them to your display?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?

2. Plan Your Display

How you display items at a trade show can be the difference between a success and a learning opportunity. Your plan depends on the size and location of your booth, and you must have a solid idea of what you would like it to look like. You aim to create an attractive space that draws people in, so consider the volume of merchandise you have and the space you need to make it appealing.

Planning your display is more complex than placing items in a visually appealing way. Your display should deliver a coherent message. Consider creating a theme that epitomizes your brand and leaves passers-by wanting to know more about you. In addition, you must keep your staff and the attendees safe. If you’re outdoors, for example, you want your booth heavy enough to withstand strong winds and rain.

3. Prioritize Product Location

When you have a theme and a general idea of what your booth needs to look like, it’s time to pinpoint where you’ll place your retail products to maximize sales. There are many digital visual merchandising tools on the market to help you create a display representing your brand and increase sales at events. Every part of your display should reflect you, from the display and signage to the table covers and runners.

Prioritize Product Location


Product location matters. Visitors to your booth should be able to make sense of your offerings. Highlight the most important merchandise by placing it in the front to immerse visitors in the experience. Group your remaining products to appeal to different needs and tastes. Vary the height and dimensions of your displays to make it three dimensional.

Imagine your booth is the window of a retail store. What would compel shoppers to come inside?

4. Watch the Clutter

Giving shoppers as many options as possible may be tempting, but too much clutter can put people off. Keep it simple and organized, and give your products the space they need to stand out. Your products and the relevant information should stand out so your customers are focused on their desire to buy.

5. Use Lighting

You cannot underestimate the power of lighting in visual merchandising. Lighting can highlight the focal points in your display and refine your brand’s message. What items do you want people to notice as they walk past, and how can you highlight them with clever lighting?

6. Tell Your Story

You want your customers to connect with more than just your products, and a trade show is an opportunity to create a connection between people and your brand. Think about what accessories, props and graphics you can use to immerse people in your brand experience. Think interactive showcases or a tablet that customers can tap for product information. The more people feel connected to what you’re selling, the more likely they will buy from you.

7. Choose the Right Booth Display Materials

Color is essential to making your booth appealing and memorable. Consider how you will present your table, drapes, banners and giveaways. Everything about your presentation should cement your brand in people’s minds, including lanyards and badges, banners, and even how the people staffing your booth are dressed.

Use an appropriate palette and branding and promotional products to create a cohesive picture of your brand.

8. Be Memorable

There are many ways to be memorable, from how engaging you are at your booth to the giveaways you choose. A well-thought-out promotional giveaway helps your brand stay in your customers’ minds long after the trade show. Consider a promotional gift your customers will use and connect back to your brand when they do. Go back to the profile you created of your ideal customer and think about what they will most appreciate.

Common giveaways include T-shirts, key chains, pens, notebooks and water bottles. Ensure that the last impression you leave of your brand is a lasting one with quality promotional items.

Enjoy Trade Show Merchandising Success with ePromos

Putting a successful trade show together involves many elements — planning, strategy, booth design, product placement, color scheme and more. If you pull it off, the results undeniably benefit your business. ePromos is here to help you make your trade show merchandising a success. We are passionate about your success and are here to make you stand out.

Add value to your marketing with ePromos. We can help you create your trade show branding from start to finish, from giveaways to table covers, banners and lanyards. You can find it all in one place and create brand cohesiveness. Feel free to check out our education center for more ways to maintain an edge over your competitors.


About Author

Katie Salerno Avatar

Katie S.

Reviewed By: Kaite S. - Marketing Brand Specialist

Tenacious brand warrior who is laser-focused on boosting our brand through effective social media presence and multiple resources. Principal producer of marvelous messages and email exposés. Message + Creative maestro who has an opening for a puppy co-worker with the expectation they stay clear of her pommes frites.