Four Questions To Ensure You Get The Best Bang For Your Trade Show Display Dollars

You’re in the process of planning for a new trade show display requirement – maybe a couple of table top displays, or perhaps you’re reviewing trade show booth ideas for custom expo displays — either way, you’re probably looking for the best deal you can get. After all, nobody wants to pay more than they have to for anything.custom hybrid trade show booth with seg graphics and wood shelves-resized-600

But here’s where things get tricky: sometimes getting the lowest price doesn’t have anything to do with getting a good deal. Why?

The old adage “you get what you pay for” is never more true than when you’re talking about the display business. And there’s a lot more to think about when reviewing trade show display ideasand buying a booth than the actual bottom-line price of that display.

See, we live in a time when shopping has shifted from the real world to the Internet. Price-checking websites help us find the lowest online pricing for everything from airfares to gasoline.

But there’s a big difference between shopping for commodities (like a plane ticket or a tank of gas) and investing in an exhibit.

Why? When you purchase an exhibit, you’re actually buying something you can’t see. And what you can’t see is the customer service.

Chances are, you’re not counting on a high level of customer service while you’re pumping gas (or you wouldn’t be the one doing the pumping!). And the term “customer service” has become a joke punch line in connection to many airlines these days. But when it comes to your convention displays, customer service is immensely important.

When you need something in a hurry (like new trade show graphics or replacement parts), an online outfit that ships your booth to you direct from the manufacturer isn’t going to help you with service after the sale. For that, you need to find a real exhibit supplier—like American Image Displays—that not only offers competitive pricing, but also provides a level of customer service unparalleled by those Internet-based drop-shipping resellers.

Real brick and mortar exhibit companies offer value-added services that are critical to the success of your tradeshow marketing program: graphic and booth design services, exhibit marketing tools, promotional assistance, booth staff training…and that all-important customer service.

If you’ve been in the trade show business long enough, you know that “stuff” happens. Things happening at unexpected times are more the rule than the exception. The truck delivering your trade show display got in an accident and damaged your display? BTDT.Maybe your company changed its logo or branding 2 weeks before the show? Yep, we’ve helped with that too.

How about an easy problem – let’s say your management decides—shortly before a show—to change which product you’ll be highlighting at that show. Not a big deal, right? Wrong! That change in direction will require a change in your trade show graphics. And it’s all happening at the eleventh hour!

The company that saved you a couple hundred dollars when you bought the least expensive pop up displays online isn’t likely to be available nights or weekends to help get you those new graphics. That’s why they offer cheaper pricing: their involvement ends when they drop-ship your booth. Don’t count on them for exhibit design consultation or help when you’re missing a key piece of hardware, or if something breaks on the show floor.

Here at American Image Displays, we have the breadth of products, the on-the-ground know-how, and the tools and technology to help make you a successful exhibitor, from the initial trade show booth design and on, right through all those times we can help you after the sale.

So how do you get the best exhibit design —and the best deal? Ask your supplier these key questions:

Does the supplier have an actual showroom?

Most online drop-ship booth sellers don’t stock any of the portable trade show booths and displays that they sell. Often, they’ve never actually seen one themselves before! You choose what you want from their website, and they simply order the booth from the manufacturer or distributor and have it shipped to you.Custom Island Exhibit with Product Display, Demo Area, Seating Section, Information Structure, and Sampling Station-resized-600

There’s also no place you can go to actually examine what you’re buying up close, or compare different exhibit designs. Companies like American Image Displays have showrooms you can visit to view a broad range of products and make your own decision.

Does the supplier have a track record?

We’ve been in the display business for 30 years. And you don’t stay in business for more than a quarter of a century without putting customers first. While anyone can launch a website and call themselves an exhibit company, our reputation speaks for itself. We’ve got hundreds of satisfied, repeat clients. We’re part of the Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce, and we’re an Accredited Business with the Better Business Bureau.

Does your supplier offer a broad range of trade show displays?

Beware of online drop-shippers who represent only a few brands. The exhibit design you purchase is going to be representing your brand, after all. You have the right to get exactly what you want. We offer the best brands in the industry, including Brumark, Classic Exhibits, Edge Exhibits, Expand USA, ExpoDisplays, ExpoGo, Featherlite, Flex/Lumaline, Globotech, K & S, Laarhoven, LITE, Lockfast, Modular One, Modul, Moss, Nimlok, Octanorm, Optima,, Radius, Softspace, TrussWorks, Visproducts, Xpressions Inc.—and more.

But what does all that mean to you? Well, with that product range, we can find the right trade show booth design to effectively support your marketing message, rather than molding your message onto a single supplier’s product. If you need something unique, or don’t like a particular design or manufacture’s products, it’s not a big deal – we have lots of other options, and can find the shoe that really fits, not just stuff you into something uncomfortable.

Does your supplier provide a sales person—or something better?

Many online exhibit sellers want your money. We want your business. And there’s a big difference. That’s one reason why we’ll assign you a project manager as soon as you contact us, who’ll offer his or her expertise in helping you choose which exhibit booth design is right for you. Additionally, your project manager will be there to handle the details of the design process and everything else related to your exhibit, before – during – and after – the sale.

Getting the best deal for your exhibit dollars isn’t tough. It just takes a little research and effort to find the right supplier. Call and chat with them; do they answer the phone? Do they seem friendly and helpful? Are they someone that you want to work with?

When comparing prices, be sure to understand that, especially when buying online, you need to buy customer service, not just the lowest cost product. Doing so will ensure you get what you want, and that you can have any problems fixed expeditiously. Big online sellers like Amazon and EBay understand and work hard to provide top notch service, so if you take the time to find a trade show supplier that does the same, you’ll do fine.

If there’s anything we can do to help you in your quest to find the best exhibit for your organization, please feel free to call me directly, at (425) 556-9511, or drop me an email  – my personal email address is [email protected]. I’d be happy to talk with you about anything related to your exhibiting needs. And the full staff at American Image Displays is standing by to help whenever you need it.

For ideas of what to do after the show, check out our article on alternate uses for trade show displays or read our article on ways to reduce trade show expenses.

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