Planning A Trade Expo Stand: #1 of 3

January 16, 2023

If you're planning to exhibit at a trade show, there are a few elements you need to cover to ensure it's a success.

Here was our process in organising our stand for a trade show next month.

1. Look for relevant expos
Your industry will have at least one relevant trade expo which has been running for years, supported by advertising and marketing that you have probably attended prior to becoming an exhibitor and most likely smaller-scale newcomers in the same arena. A trade expo will expose you to wholesale buyers, many of whom are seeking fresh products. 

As we are exhibiting our wholesale sister business, Palatable Tea Towels to the gift market, we needed to book a gift trade expo.

2. Look for relevant dates and locations
The biggest gift shows in Australia are run by Reed Gift Fair and AGHA (Australian Gift & Homewares Association), which are running a co-located one in Sydney from 18-21 February 2023, with the former at International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, and the latter at Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush.

We live in Melbourne and didn't want the added expense of travel and freight to Sydney at this stage.

Reed and AGHA's Melbourne shows run 5-9 August 2023 but because we don't want to wait another six months to exhibit to the gift trade buyers, we invested in the Melbourne Gift & Lifestyle show at Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Southbank from 4-6 February 2023. 

Run by family event company Expertise Events who have organised gift shows in Sydney and Brisbane, this is their first Melbourne show. It is actually billed as the Melbourne Gift & Lifestyle + The Melbourne Jewellery Expo.

I was concerned there were too many jewellery exhibitors to make my presence relevant however, as of writing, more gift companies are starting to register. About 60% of the 98 exhibitors to date, are non-jewellery businesses.

3. Determine your booth size and position
We booked a 3m wide x 2m deep stand on the corner, at the rear of the MCEC hall, next to the Australian Made Pavilion.

A corner stand gives you visual exposure on two sides: visitors can see your wares from two approaches and it creates the effect of a larger stand.

Our position at the back of the exhibition hall next to the Australian Made Pavilion helps us reach those wishing to stock Australiana gifts. It is also in close proximity to the loading dock doors which means we don't have to move heavy items very far.

Our range of seven wine region tea towels meant we didn't need a large stand to showcase them and the 3m wide x 2m deep stand size was perfect. Each extra square metre costs hundreds of dollars. Our stand cost $3,701.50 excluding power and lighting.

Any new product needs to recoup its investment. Starting with a modest stand size frees up more money for future designs, additional marketing and so on.

4. Determine your stand theme and style
Every exhibitor wants to attract attention - and sales - from passing visitors.

Customers decide whether they're going to stop and find out more in three seconds or less.

We believe a themed expo stand has far more visual interest than mere racks and shelves of stock, increases the chances of customers stopping by, taking photographs (even adding them to Instagram), making enquiries, placing an order and potentially being chosen as a finalist of the Best Looking Expo Stand if your expo runs such competitions to attract publicity.

As our tea towels are maps of the Australian wine regions, we decided to create a faux wine cellar theme. Our stand will feature a rustic wine barrel topped with a gift hamper of gourmet goodies including one of our tea towels wrapped around a bottle of wine to help position the product as an option for gift hamper companies.

We will panel the Octanorm walls panels covered in removable, reusable printed faux printed limewashed wood panels to recreate the interior of a wine cellar which will be covered with our framed tea towels, a faux antler chandelier for atmospheric lighting, and a vintage pressed metal drinks bar from which to serve customers.

We will also use a vertical retail display rack from which to suspend the retail-ready tea towels.

Next blog post: Organising the Expo Stand