It’s a new year and a fresh chance for your business to impress at trade shows. There's no lack of opportunity to shine and exhibit in 2020.
Trade shows can be stressful. It doesn't matter whether you’ve done them a hundred times before or you're looking to make your debut—there are lots of things to consider.
Besides your vendor booth supplies, actual merchandise, promotional materials, and business cards, there are loads of other items you need to bring. No pressure...but some of these items can either make or break the day for you and your employees.
Even so, there's no need to panic. If your new year's resolution is to learn how to better prepare for upcoming trade shows, then good news, we have you covered.
Read on for a thorough prep guide detailing precisely the vendor booth supplies you mustn't forget.
As we've already alluded to, preparation is vital. That means doing some research before the event to learn as much as you can about the environment, the venue, and the people attending.
Needless to say, this has a massive bearing on the kinds of things you'll bring with you.
So, get a notepad out and start jotting down your preliminary thoughts for what you'll need. Keep adding to this list so that you can check it all off before the big day.
You’d be surprised how handy generic office supplies are at tradeshows. Stock up on these beforehand. Most of these items can easily be ordered off Amazon, or if you've left things too late, you can pop into your local office supply store on the way.
Here’s what you’ll need:
A Box Cutter
This is a tip from the pros who've had to open hundreds of boxes, strenuously, by hand. So, do yourself a favor and take a box cutter and make your life a lot easier.
Excessive Numbers of Business Cards
You never know who you’ll meet at a tradeshow, but more importantly, just how many people you’ll meet.
When you make a sale or give out a freebie, it’s only natural to throw a business card in there. This is an effortless way of ensuring your customers remember you in the future. So, be prepared and bring way more business cards than you think you'll need.
Pens and Pencils
If you have a mailing list for people to sign up to, you might want to bring a few extra writing supplies. They also come in handy if prospects want to jot down your details.
Bring as many as you think you'll need, and then bring some more. You never know whether your trade show visitors will treat your stand like an Ikea pencil box, and pinch them from your now pencil-less booth.
A bold black pen is a great emergency tool for crossing out typos or creating extra signage. You never know when you need to draw attention to something or block out a mistake.
On the subject of fixing mistakes, be sure to bring various tapes with you. Signs could fall at any time, posters could rip, or you might want to make use of unexpected wall space by hanging some of your promotional materials.
The tape also comes in handy for closing boxes back up should you need to move them.
Paper Clips, Staplers, and Staples
These are all handy items for grouping flyers, business cards, and information sheets. Be sure to keep all these resources together to make it easier for visitors to find your details.
Your booth might not be conveniently placed next to a power outlet. So bring extension cords and extra power strips to ensure your needs are met during the day.
Well-Being and Emergencies
Trade shows are fantastic for getting your merchandise in front of thousands of people in one location. But, it's also for that very reason that a day at a trade show can (sometimes) be long and painful.
Prepare to feel exhausted, hungry, thirsty, frustrated, and bored. It’s hard work, but oh so worth it.
So, make it a little easier on yourself and your employees by packing the items we've listed below. You'll be amazed at how effectively they'll elevate your well-being on the day.
A First Aid Kit
If you brought the office supplies as suggested, there's a risk of accidentally stapling yourself to a business card. Humour aside, there are plenty of ways you could injure yourself during a trade show.
Protruding nails, paper cuts, tripping over wires, dropping boxes...just to name a few. Be prepared to administer first aid, so you can jump back into action and avoid the regrettable suffering for the rest of the day.
This is a no-brainer! Nothing hydrates you after a long day of meeting people like water. Soda and coffee won’t sufficiently sustain you, and if you’re not alone at the booth, a crate of bottled water works wonders for team morale.
Bring plenty of snacks to get you through the day! There's no doubt you'll be hungry from all that networking you’re doing.
You’ll be shaking a lot of hands, so bring some hand sanitizer. Try not to think about it too much, but you have no idea where their hands have been. Err on the side of caution and periodically disinfect your hands throughout the day.
There’s a good chance you could spill your coffee, splatter your food, or create some other form of unexpected mess to sully your pristine booth. So, bring cleaning wipes to handle these mini emergencies.
This is vital if you’re doing a trade show during the summer—you might find yourself outdoors more often than you think.
A Spare Shirt
As we've already said, you never know when you might spill something, or you might feel a little sweaty and gross from a long day of hard work. Either way, an extra shirt can spare you feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious as you go about networking.
Lotion and Lip Balm
The air in trade show venues can get really dry and stuffy. Nobody wants to spend a day obsessing about dry lips or hands, so take some lotion and lip balm along.
Trade show experts know how handy a screwdriver can be. You might have to tighten the screws on your table or assemble a new stand. With a multi-tool or a small toolkit, you’ll be prepared for any eventuality.
Other Must-Haves for Tradeshow-ing Like a Pro
Here are a few things to make your booth stand out from the crowd. So if you want to go the extra mile, bring the following:
Plastic Holders for Promotional Material
Stacking your business cards and flyers on the table will quickly become messy. This looks unprofessional.
Get plastic holders to store your promotional materials. This makes them much easier to see and they're less likely to blow over onto the trade show floor.
Freebies and Giveaways
Little freebie bags are a great way of attracting people to your booth and provide the perfect opportunity for sneaking a business card in with your gifts.
Once people notice you’re giving out freebies, they’re more likely to drop by for a chat, which makes engaging them with your merchandise a lot easier.
Snacks, notepads, and custom branded pens are all fabulous giveaways worth considering.
Make it easier for yourself and your employees to seem personable, by wearing name tags.
Trash Bags and Storage Boxes
You'll undoubtedly generate rubbish during the day, so have trash bags at the ready to tidy it all up. Storage boxes, too, are helpful because you’ll may find yourself leaving with more than you came with.
Branded Tablecloths and Banners
Make sure everything in and around your booth speaks to the values of your company. A well-branded booth is a surefire way to stand out from the crowd and promote your business from a distance.
Have a list where people can sign up for news from your company. It’s a great way of growing your mailing list and keeping in touch with potential prospects.
Do You Have All of Your Vendor Booth Supplies?
Did you add all the above onto your checklist? Great! There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be well prepared for your first trade show of 2020.
With all of these vendor booth supplies, you’ll be ready to meet every challenge head-on.
We’re happy to help you prepare for your tradeshow, and if you’re ready to step up your branding game and purchase customized pens for your business, you can order a few samples from us to get the ball rolling.