A home is the biggest investment most people will make in a lifetime, so it stands to reason that when they’re building, remodeling or upgrading they want to see and touch the products they’re thinking about incorporating and find the right person to do the work. Home and garden shows give them the opportunity to explore several vendors at once, which makes it imperative that businesses nail it in terms of enticing and educating customers—and ensuring they’re chosen for the job.
- Understanding how people move about a space is job No. 1 for vendors. People tend to turn right when they enter a show, and they look to the right before turning to the left. It stands to reason, then, that a booth to the right will get more traffic than a booth to the left. One toward the front or in an area where people naturally congregate will perform better than another on the outskirts. Think of your booth space as real estate: location, location, location. Get in early to get the best spot on the floor.
- Step back and take a look at what visitors will see when they walk in the door and as they travel about the venue. Don’t make them work hard to find you; design your display area with their eyeline in mind. If the venue allows you to hang banners or signage from the ceiling, go for it. If not, well-designed banner flags (some of which are quite tall) can be used to draw attention, as can eye-catching fabric stands. They require some upfront investment, but because they’re portable they can be used again and again.
- As people near your booth, make sure they don’t just keep on walking. This involves a combination of grabbing their attention, showcasing what they’ve come to see (flooring, fixtures, landscaping, what-have-you) and creating a space in which they’ll want to spend time. Every booth backdrop, table cover and tablet stand gives you the opportunity to tell your brand story visually. The right display fixture enables you to show off product samples effectively. A pair of chairs gives people the opportunity to mull or talk over choices.
- Speaking of those chairs, be sure to place a table with educational literature on it within easy reach. Remember, people are likely about to spend a fair amount of money on your product or service. They want to be confident in their choice. Whether you’re offering simple spec sheets or beautifully designed brochures, a literature holder or stand (available in customized or standard sizes) will help you keep things in their place while making them easy for customers to pick up on the go.
- Booth graphics can do double duty, provided they remain visually powerful and uncluttered. If your product or service is distinguished by something in particular, and you can boil that down to just a few words, consider splashing that statement across a booth backdrop. A short customer quote works, too. Nothing is more powerful than a glowing endorsement from someone who’s actually used your company.
- Today, people expect to do research on their own before they talk to a salesperson, so give them that opportunity in your booth. Providing a laptop pre-loaded with information about your product or service gives customers an excellent way to find out more about you, and it gives them something to do if you’re engaged in another conversation. Tablet stands or holders are readily available, and many can be branded with your logo or URL.
To ensure they choose you...
- If your product lends itself to a sample, be sure to offer one. From pavers to home décor to landscaping systems, those who need time to contemplate their choice, explore the quality of your wares or make sure they’re getting exactly what they need will appreciate the opportunity to take a sample home with them. And it’s a physical reminder that you exist.
- Always provide business cards. Despite the ubiquity of smart phones and the rising use of QR codes, there will always be people who prefer (or even expect) them. Embracing those preferences ensures you don’t inadvertently lose a prospective customer. Design your cards beautifully and display them proudly—within easy reach, of course.
- Figure out a way to capture visitors’ contact information. People may not be ready to buy right then and there, but if they’re interested in what you have to offer, they may be willing to give you their email or phone number for a more personal conversation at a later date.
Home and garden shows draw big crowds, and most of those who attend are there for a reason. A well-planned booth can boost brand recognition and increase sales in a way that less tangible forms of advertising simply can’t match.
Ray Ko has been creating effective visual merchandising and interior design strategies for retailers for more than 20 years. Today, he is the senior ecommerce manager for shopPOPdisplays
, a leading designer and manufacturer of stock and custom acrylic product.