7 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Trade Show Display

Looking to buy a trade show display? There’s a lot to choose from. To help your search, here are 7 questions you should ask before buying.

So it’s time to buy a trade show display

And let me guess, you did a search online and were met by thousands of options.

Feeling overwhelmed?

It’s the same story with everything. Movies. Food. Phones. Cars. Toothbrushes. You name it. There are so many brands and businesses–where does one start?

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These days, the only way to make good decisions is to either listen to trusted friends or ask the right questions. But since you don’t know me and I don’t know you, I can’t tell you which display you need. Besides, even if I did know you, I wouldn’t tell you which one is the best option without asking some questions first. 

So, here’s an easy method for picking the perfect display for your show.

The first thing to keep in mind is that there are three different kinds of displays: portable, modular and custom.

portable, modular and custom displays


The key to finding “the one” is to ask the questions below.

Once you have your answers, it will be easy to determine which kind you need. From there, the choice is much more simple and easy to make. 

1. What are your goals? 

What do you want to accomplish from the show? Is the main objective to test a new product? Attract new prospects? Strengthen the relationship with current clients? 

2. What is your total trade show budget? 

What does the budget cover? When factoring in costs, it’s best to include the display and all show expenses, which means shipping, installation and dismantling (I&D) and booth space. 

3. What is the scope of the competition? 

What is your competition using? Do you need a similar look or look better than the competition? 

4. What is your position in the market? 

Does your position require you to keep in step with Joneses? Are you the new guys on the block? If you’re new, it might work in your favor to have a big budget and make a big impression. If you’re at the top of the market, you’re a trendsetter and don’t need to worry about what everyone else is doing. If you’re mid-market, the focus may be to have a fabulous display while saving costs as much as possible. 

5. What is the size of your booth space?

The amount of space you use will have a great deal to say about which kind of display you should buy. 

6. How many shows are you attending? 

If you’re attending many shows, you’ll need something durable and flexible that will last a long time. 

7. How flexible do you need your display to be? 

If you’re attending multiple shows with various booth spaces, you’ll need a display that can adjust to fill any type and size of space–islands, peninsulas and standard spaces. 

Now that all the factors are accounted for, the next thing is to see which kind of trade show displays matches your priorities. The best part about this method is you don’t have to doubt if it’s a fit or not after you buy your display because it meets all your needs! 


Making the decision

buying trade show displays

Portables are the most cost-effective out of the three kinds of displays.

Since the majority can be packed in the trunk of a car, you save money on shipping, installation and dismantling. Portables include banner stands, tabletop displays and pop-ups. However, if you want to make an impression at a show, these are generic and come in a dime-a-dozen. 

Most people move to modular displays when portables no longer give them the presence they need. They’ve moved up in the marketplace and want to be seen as a serious competitor.

Modulars can have custom elements like hanging signs and counters. Plus, they can be easily adjusted to fill any space. Shipping costs less than a custom because modulars are made of lighter material, but labor costs can sometimes be more than a custom since there are more parts to put together.

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You will not find a custom in a 10×10 or 10×20 booth space.

If you go to a show with many custom builds, your portable won’t be able to compete. The labor can cost less than a modular because most parts are already put together, but you will need to factor in storage, and parts will need to be replaced more often on a custom than on a modular.

However, there is no denying the imposing presence of a well-designed custom display in the exhibit hall. 

Do you still need more information before you buy a trade show display? You can let us help you find the right fit by contacting us here or giving The Trade Group a call at 972-734-8585.

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