Tips for Creating a Trade Show Exhibit Design that Encourages a Smooth Flow of Traffic

A happy consequence of a well-designed trade show display is the presence of interested visitors at your booth. What you do with those people once they arrive, however, is what can make or break your time at the trade show. There are many activities to engage attendees that you can pursue. However, at the end of the day, most people will only stay if they feel comfortable. And, the most important element in helping your visitors feel comfortable is ensuring a smooth flow of traffic through your booth.

Consider, for example, how you feel if you have to wait in line to get inside somewhere. The wait, the jostling, the time on your feet can make it an unpleasant experience. If you are never welcomed by somebody, you might feel a little bit awkward. If you don’t know how to move through the space, you might feel disoriented. And, if you are constantly feeling crowded, you might have a hard time enjoying what you came to see.

An inefficient flow of traffic through your trade show exhibit can create similarly uncomfortable experiences for visitors. Alternatively, a smooth flow of traffic can help visitors focus on your booth, interact with your sales team, and come away feeling positive about your brand. To help you create this kind of productive movement through your booth, here are seven ways to tweak your trade show exhibit design.

  1. Build space into your trade show exhibit design.

Furniture such as tables, chairs, display cases, and kiosks are all common and necessary elements in a trade show exhibit. How they are arranged, however, can make all the difference in whether they facilitate or obstruct the movement of visitors through your booth. Consider the following guidelines for placing furniture in your trade show exhibit:

2. Remove furniture that is obstructing easy movement.

For example, remove the table that is sitting in front of your entrance, and relocate the display cases to the sides of the booth instead of the middle of the room. This way, visitors can move through your trade show display without encountering obstacles that would discourage them from moving forward.

3. Place meeting areas out of the way.

These areas should be away from the main flow of traffic in order to create a calm and quiet environment where sales can be made and questions answered without distraction.

4. Create space around meeting areas and booth structures.

Avoid clutter; create a welcoming and restful environment, and ensure that there is room for comfortable movement by creating space around meeting areas and other booth structures.

5. Develop a logical order to your trade show exhibit.

People are more likely to move through your booth if there is a logical order to the trade show display. The use of stories is particularly effective in giving people a structure that will encourage them to move deeper into your display. For example, you might retell the story of your mobile phone company’s success, guiding the visitor through each iteration of your smart phone and climaxing with the latest model and a matching product demo to capture visitors’ attention.

In addition to keeping visitors’ attention, this approach makes it easier for them to know where to go in your trade show exhibit and gives you more control over visitors’ experience. Consequently, you can more effectively place sales staff where they can easily engage with visitors, place conversion points along the way, and, ultimately, enjoy more leads and sales from your booth.

6. Create a trade show exhibit design that is easy for your staff to man.

In a typical trade show booth, only 21 percent of visitors ever talk with the booth staff. That means that your staff could be missing up to 80 percent of visitors (and the leads and sales that might have come from those visitors). If you want to create a steady flow of traffic, one of the keys is to create a trade show exhibit design that makes it easier for your staff to talk with more visitors.

For example, say your trade show display has five or six ways to enter. This set up makes it more difficult for your staff to keep track of who needs attention, since people can come and go without being seen by your sales team. Instead, consider reducing the number of entry points and then placing dedicated staff at each one in order to welcome every visitor who comes through.

Similarly, make sure you create specific areas to be manned by other booth staff (such as the product demo area or the lounge area). With a trade show exhibit design that creates specific areas to be manned by your staff, it becomes easier for your sales team to guide people through the booth, answer their questions, and have a conversation with the majority of visitors.

7. Ensure that the aesthetics of your trade show exhibit design pose no barriers to visitors.

When it comes to trade show exhibit design, sometimes minor changes can make a big difference in how welcome people feel. For example, if your flooring is significantly different in color than the exhibit hall flooring, people may feel less comfortable stepping into your booth, whereas a less conflicting floor color might get them to come into your booth without a second thought. In another example, walls that are too high may feel intimidating to visitors, particularly those who are not yet sure they want to engage with your brand. Adding windows, lowering the height, or other strategies might make the space feel less enclosed.

As a result, work with your exhibit company to ensure that the aesthetics of your trade show exhibit design communicate the welcome you want your visitors to feel. The result should be a smoother flow of traffic as people enter more easily and move more readily through your space.

When people are drawn to a well-designed display, and are then able to move comfortably through it, they are more likely to engage with your business. By creating a trade show exhibit design that facilitates traffic flow, you help to shore up the success of your booth. By creating open space, creating a logical order, making space for your staff, and ensuring that your aesthetics are welcoming, you can create a more smoothly run and welcoming trade show exhibit for your next display.

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