As a furniture business, you are limited to the number of interactions you get in a typical business month. Advertisements and marketing strategies might help do the trick. However, you do need live interactions with your current and prospective clients.
However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t handle the experience with care. Things could go right or wrong depending on the activities, behaviors, interactions you have at the tradeshow. Here’s where this article comes in.
The aim is to offer a comprehensive trade show exhibition guide for your business. We do this by showing you the best way to gain from exhibiting at a trade show. This can be achieved if you understand the dos and don’ts of the exhibition space. Do enjoy your reading.
Why You Should Attend a Furniture Trade Show
While you may be opposed to the idea, exhibiting at furniture trade shows allows you to：
● Connect with prospective clients
● Strengthen your relationship with your current clients
● Learn about new developments in the furniture world
● Meet possible business collaborators
● Close business deals while at the show
● Understand niches by knowing what competitors are up to in the industry
● Expand your sales leads; yes, you can sell products at these shows!
To achieve this there are various dos and don’ts you should be aware of. Read on to find out which.
When Attending a Furniture Trade Show Do…
Set a Clear Goal and ROI Measurement
When it comes to trade show exhibitions, the first step requires that you define the objectives. This then demands that you understand the criteria you would use to measure your success.
This can be achieved through return-on-investment measurement. You can monitor the return on investment(ROI) in a variety of ways.
For instance, what is the number of leads or face-to-face meetings in the booth? At the trade show or conference, you should decide what strategic brand priorities you want to emphasize. Some of the ROI measurement methodologies include：
● Single attribution.
● Single attribution( With revenue cycle projections)
● Multi-touch Attribution
● Test and Control Groups
● Full Market Mix Modelling
Make a Detailed Exhibition Plan
Once the goals are clear and the ROI measurement methodology is set, you now need to come up with a detailed plan. Trade show exhibit planning is the secret to getting the best out of a show when you only have a small amount of time. You might have set a goal of visiting several trade shows and exhibitors, following up with specific contacts, or collecting a certain number of business cards.
Defining your target audience during the planning stage will help you make future choices, such as selecting a location and agreeing on a floor plan. The venue of your expo and the overall theme you support will be determined by your target audience.
To succeed, you should plan out the logistics, time, and delegation tactics you will use to approach these goals. Start planning out way earlier than when you are to attend the trade show. Also do remember to plan for marketing.
Marketing will aid in the success of your expo. Using direct mail, infographics, email, and social media to communicate with your target audience will help you attract attendees and raise awareness. After all, if people are unaware that the event is taking place, they would not be able to participate.
Book the Booth in Advance
Like with each of the steps above, you should navigate booking a trade show with the proper care and guidance. However, this step has a time limitation as the more time you take waiting the less chance that you will get your booth in time for the event. Look into trade show booth rental services, and find one that will bring you the best ROI. Remember, each step builds on the other so be careful with this one. The amount of traffic that comes to your booth can be influenced by its position on the show floor. In most cases, the first few brands to reserve a tradeshow booth would be able to choose the exact location of their booth. If you have the financial resources to buy a larger booth, such as a 30*30 or even a 50*50, your booth would almost certainly be granted pride of place on the floor. The CIFF trade show allows you to register as a regular exhibitor, thus making it easier for your furniture business to get a space early enough.
Employ a One-Stop Booth Builder
Your tradeshow budget needs to remain as minimal as possible. This means that every expenditure, including the booth, builds needs to be done with as least amount of resources as possible. To achieve this you can get a quality booth design and contract the services of a one-stop builder. What this does is save you the time and money it would take to have the booth set up in more than one day.
Before making the final decision, check out the builder’s reputation in the market. You could also read booth set-up guides as a team to prepare for future trade shows.
Work With a Trusted Logistics Company
A strong third-party logistics (3PL) partnership boosts supply chain performance, lowers costs, and increases overall customer support. However, they're not one-size-fits-all, with many boxes to check off when looking for the right 3PL to complement your trade show needs. Choosing a trade show logistics partner is becoming more difficult as new options continue to be introduced to the market.
When choosing your next 3PL partner, keep the following five considerations in mind:
● Their customer service, support, and reliability
● How financially stable is the company
● What do other businesses they worked with say about their trade show logistics service?
● Is trade show logistics part of their specialty?
● Their existing relationship with other transportation stakeholders
Once you know how the booths, equipment, products, and personnel will get to the trade show location, then you can focus on something else.
Show Your Overwhelming Furniture Product
It's critical to have a strategic plan. Not only do you want to keep the flow in your booth going, but you also want to give your salespeople the best chance possible. Also, include a variety of your furniture in the show with an emphasis on the best-reviewed and best-selling products.
It's a smart idea to show off only the best, most outstanding furniture products that would appeal to the audience at the trade show. You can also include the latest products in your portfolio. This increases the chances of making a sale at the event. However, don’t just assume that the product will appeal to the user, do research the product vs. the target audience for the furniture fair.
Prepare your Giveaways and Marketing Materials
Your aim is to draw people to your booth who are interested in your product. The giveaway doesn’t need to be large or elaborate. Samples of your furniture products distributed at various points in the show are perfect.
Key chains, pencils, and paper pads with your business and product name on them may also be useful. Even a big bowl full of bite-sized chocolates or hard candies will attract customers to your booth. If you don't have enough money to give away lavish prizes, use your imagination. However, do not just offer giveaways without a strategy. Ensure that each product you give away will earn you a lead and is usable for the client.
Consider Booth and Display Rentals
New exhibitors may be surprised to learn that not all display rentals are generic. Some businesses rent out highly customized trade show exhibits. If you're not sure which choice is best for your business, search for full-service exhibit agencies that can talk to you about your requirements and assist you in selecting the right exhibit scale, style, and design for your brand.
There is no doubt about the number of benefits of a rental to the ownership option. This keeps your business space at a minimum while planning for the next phase.
Keep an Eye on Your Competitors
It's always a good idea to see who else has reserved a booth at the trade show. This will give you an idea of how well-attended the event is likely to be. If major competitors have begun to participate in the event in recent years, it indicates that the trade show is becoming more popular, and you are likely to have a lot of success.
You should also do some research on what has previously worked for companies at the event. You can then devise a trade show strategy based on this information. We recommend attending a trade show that willingly provides information on the currently registered exhibitors for their shows. The CIFF trade show does just this while offering a variety of other products in the market. They also expose you to various furniture markets, such as the China furniture market.
Design Trade Show Games
For a customer, attending a trade show that has no fun event is like walking into your store on a normal week. While this does not mean that your business is currently running wrongfully, it goes to show that a trade show booth should have creative ways of attracting people to it. While it is not logical to start a fun park around your trade show booth, you could employ exhibit games and competitions to appease the visitors.
The key here is to keep visitors both engaged and physically present in the booth. Select an appealing prize for the competitions, preferably something related to what you sell. It could even be a sample of your product lines or free furniture for a limited time. To enter the competition, have visitors leave their business cards in a glass bowl or fill out an entry form. At the end of the show, announce the winner from the entries. Ensure they do get what they won.
Train Your Staff
During the trade show, the staff at your booth will interact with potential customers. They will be representing your brand on the show floor, so it is critical that they maintain a professional demeanor at all times. We recommend that each member of staff be given a list of rules that must be followed while at the booth. This should include instructions on what they should wear, where and when they can drink or eat, and how to engage with people who approach the booth.
It’s important to note that how you treat your staff will either impact the trade show positively or negatively. Be calm, collected and do take the time to assist them in places where they’re stuck. This is also good for business as modern-day customers do appreciate engaging with businesses that treat their personnel with respect. Work as a team and not as individuals competing for something. Read on.
Follow up Leads After the Exhibition
Prepare a strategy for following up with show leads as soon as the show ends. Don't put off conveying emails and making calls to all who stopped by your booth for at least two months. The fresh prospects are likely to have become good customers for one of your competitors by that time, or they could be weighing between you and one of your show competitors. However, if you are convincing enough you might gain from the efforts you put towards this activity.
Be patient, send several emails, and grant them the opportunity to know your business more. This may sound like relationship advice because it is a customer-business relationship that will reflect itself in your sales.
When Attending a Furniture Fair Don’t…
Overschedule your Plan
Scheduling, when done well, proves effective, even for furniture needs. However, you can only set yourself up for failure if you prepare too much, to the point that you have scheduled back-to-back work. Although you can make the most of your time at the exhibition, if you book your calendar solidly, you will miss out on opportunities for chance meetings. Also, overscheduling might lead to burnout for you and your staff.
Now, you need to be careful with this part of the process, especially if you are new to the trade show scene. Here's an idea, plan for the essentials only, as stated in the dos section, then interact with other businesses and customers to understand where you need to improve.
Go Over Budget
We all think we're the most powerful individuals on the block, but we're not. Trying to limit your trade show budget to essentials for the exhibit. Starting with an inline 10 x 10 or 10 x 20 can make more sense, especially if you're new to trade show marketing. Before investing in an island exhibit, some expensive lights, or big graphical displays you can learn what works.
Instead research what needs to go into these setups and why they're used. You’d be shocked how many people believe they need an indoor conference room only to find out that their clients prefer an informal meeting area.
Such shows normally have a pecking order, with some being more critical than others. It might not be worth it to go over budget at secondary furniture fairs when you could put that money into your main show, where you'll generate more leads. Budgeting is a product of the trade show plan, so to correct it you must keep your plan under control.
Only Focus on the Sales at the Furniture Fair
Don't schedule and conduct your expo solely for the purpose of making money. An expo is more than a way to make money; it's also a way to build communities and connections. Your company will benefit from hosting an event that is well-received by both exhibitors and attendees.
Focusing solely on sales could lead to overcrowding and cost-cutting on critical elements. Instead, concentrate on developing a strong brand image and a solid reputation in preparation for future events.
It's convenient to spend all of your time in your trade show booth. After all, it's secure, comfortable, and will help you focus on your sales. While this does not mean you shouldn’t focus on your booth and leads, it goes to say that trade shows are two-way streets. Prospective customers come to learn about and explore new furniture products and suppliers. Not only are you there to help those customers, but also to learn and grow.
Each show presents a chance to improve your business approach and strategies. What are your competitors displaying? How are they conveying their message? Are there any new products or services that would be beneficial to your business? Are there any trends you've overlooked that you should research and implement?
We're not asking you to spy, but polite talk with friends and enemies alike will go a long way. It all boils down to your mindset and approach. Don't be afraid to greet some of your neighbors and inquire about how the show is going for them. You want to come across as welcoming and friendly, not like a medieval castle with the drawbridge locked.
Ignore Pre-Show Promotion on Social Media
Creating a website or a landing page for the next furniture trade show exhibit gives your prospects a place to go for expo information. Include anything, from the time and place to the floor plan and any necessary bump-ins. Your prospects will want to know about networking, time of arrival, activities they will engage in, and even hotel information. Ensure that you host a fantastic event by providing all of the information that your attendees and exhibitors will require.
You can use social media as a means of digital marketing to promote your event before, during, and after it takes place. Create a hashtag for the event that participants will use to post their images and see other people's photos. This creates a stronger sense of community and helps you to reach a larger audience for your case.
You should generate as much hype regarding your trade show attendance as possible on social platforms in the months and weeks leading up to the event. You can increase your online visibility by posting interactive visual content on your pages and using the official event hashtag. This will entice attendees to attend the event and interact with you and your booth.
Try to feed off the social media trends while keeping the trade show message clear. Urge your prospects to bring a friend, or two.
Overcrowd Your Booth With Furniture
If you want to make money by selling stands, don't congest your venue by cramming too many into a small room. There won't be enough space for traffic movement if there are too many or narrow aisles.
It is critical to be strategic. Not only do you want to keep the flow of your booth going, but you also want to give your team the best chance of making sales. When there are too many products for booth visitors to choose from, it can be difficult. It's a good idea to display only your finest or latest products that you believe will appeal to the trade show's viewer. This will not only help design a cleaner aesthetic for your booth but will also increase your success at the show.
Enter a Market Without any Research
Trade shows attract a large number of people, and not everyone who comes to your booth seeking information is a key decision-maker. The above means you'll need to figure out a way to classify your leads before you invest a lot of time and money displaying your products and services to them. Before deciding how much time should be spent with someone, your staff should be able to ask leading questions that will help them understand who they are talking to.
Also do not forget to research trade show activities that are close to yours or have a competition. Viewing exhibitor and attendee comments and reviews in the media will help you figure out what worked and what didn't. You should look at their past floor plans and guest speaker rosters to get ideas about what should and shouldn't be included in your event to ensure that your exhibitors and guests have a good time.
Take Pandemic Viruses Lightly
A trade show is a social environment. You might be tempted to include as many customers as possible in your booth, or go out and party with the masses during off-hours. However, this might have major repercussions for both you and your business.
Firstly, there is the issue of the pandemic virus. Throughout live events, look for displays dedicated to the people’s wellbeing and welfare. Ascertain that these designs demonstrate practices that can be incorporated into new – or current – booth layouts. Do remember to include sanitization stations, maintain social distancing, and avoid unnecessary social interactions.
Secondly, the business will suffer if word spreads of some unnecessary behavior you or any of your staff members were engaged in at the parties. How you communicate outside the exhibition might be one way of gaining leads, but once you are out there the business mindset might be out of the window.
Book a Hotel Away From the Exhibition Hall
You must get a hotel close to the exhibition hall. If you do not do this, it will inconvenience your movements, as it will be much harder to set up in the morning and close down in the evenings. Find a hotel nearby that offers:
● Great accommodation
● Healthy meals; breakfast and dinner to be precise
● Amenities such as internet(wi-fi), a shopping center nearby, and good customer service
● Good operation hours, ideally 24/7 due to the crazy times you might be getting in and out of the hotel.
● Follows the pandemic virus guidelines from the relevant authorities.
Spread Negative Speech
Exhibiting at trade shows can be advantageous to your business. You will meet with potential customers face to face and create leads. It's possible that some of the competitors will be there as well. To attract the attention of potential customers, you'll need to stand out.
Instead of attempting to persuade customers that you are superior to other exhibitors because they are inferior, concentrate on what you bring to the table. Speaking ill of your competitors is unappealing and demonstrates insecurity. Work on your sales pitch, customer engagement, and any other details that will positively affect your trade show.
Attending a furniture trade show can appear to be a challenging task. The preparation process, however, can be made a little simpler with these dos and don'ts. Don't forget to pay attention to your priorities and the design of your booths as you prepare for your next gathering. These crucial factors will determine how much success you have in the upcoming case.
At the end of the day, it's important to note that a trade show will help you achieve several marketing objectives at once, so planning ahead of time is essential. We do recommend attending the CIFF furniture fair, which presents you with the best resources to ensure that you do succeed at exhibiting your products. All the best with your first or next furniture fair!