Lightweight Trade Show Display Walls Save Lots of Money!

Trade shows are one of the more expensive forms of advertising and outreach you can engage in. They offer the opportunity to fine tune and sharply focus on specific customer targets, and also offer the opportunity for very good returns on investment, but it is critical that businesses plan for trade show marketing success.xpressions-qtr-20-promo

Indeed, even those businesses that don’t plan well sometimes are successful anyway, simply because trade shows offer so many ways to benefit your operations. Far more than simply being a marketing opportunity, conventions and trade shows are one of the best all-around outreach and reputation-building exercises you can engage in.

Basically, anything you can do to reduce the cost of your trade show displays without impacting performance or capability is going to pay off, both in terms of your immediate budgeting, as well as in demonstrating its long-term ROI.  And with shipping costs growing ever more expensive, reducing the weight of your trade show display is one of the simplest – and also one of the best – cost-cutting measures you can implement!

So, let’s talk about some ‘weighty’ matters, and how you can reduce your shipping costs on the way to your next exposition appearance.

Five Tips For Slimming Down Your Trade Show Displays!

1 – Choose Hybrid Fabric and Aluminum Display Elements

Many of the most popular exposition display units today, including Xpressions pop-up displays, have skeletons made almost solely out of lightweight aluminum, with printed fabric graphics overlaying them.  Modern dye sublimation processes can create printed fabric graphics with high-resolution, full-color images that are nearly as clear and distinct as those made of more traditional heavy materials.

Quite a few our modern hybrid displays are similarly built to be lightweight and easily-shipped, while allowing a greater range of shapes and sizes than traditional pop-ups. With these fabric based hybrid displays, you can get a range of unusual eye-grabbing shapes and lightweight tension fabric display walls with very little impact on your shipping weight.

Many of these lightweight choices are available for the same cost as their heavier counterparts, but sometimes they cost a little bit more. Those shoppers that opt for cheaper and less expensive – but heavier – alternatives are caught flat-footed when they finally realize the average display stand purchase cost amounts to less than 15% of their annual show costs!

The recurring fees – shipping, drayage, travel, and install/dismantle fees – form the bulk of the cost at a trade show, and lighter weight displays that set up quickly save on all fronts.sacajawea fabric exhibit booth backdrop

  • Obviously, lighter weight means lower shipping costs…
  • It means lower drayage fees too.
  • The simpler setup may mean your staff can handle the setup themselves, without hiring show services or a contractor.
  • The faster setup and dismantle may even allow your staff to arrive and setup the day of the show, and dismantle and leave the day of the show, eliminating a couple of extra nights in the hotel!
 2 – Use Podium Cases

Similarly, consider using podium cases (shipping cases that become podiums at your show). There are several styles of shipping cases that use a printed graphic case wrap and a rubber lid to transform into a podium at the show – saving you the cost of a stand-alone counter, and also eliminating the hassle of waiting for show services to bring your case back when the show ends.

The Expand Podium case is a good example; it opens up to form a wide podium with your custom graphic, and can also support a monitor and a literature holder. inside this podium case is plenty of room to store three retractable banner stands, enough to build a 10ft wide banner wall.

Another option is the lightweight Burst popup display; this highly rated display system offers a 40 lb., 10ft wide dye sub fabric back wall, and comes in a case that can be wrapped with another fabric graphic – saving shipping cost, drayage fees, all with a display system that one person can set up in 10 minutes!

3 – Go Digital!

As electronic methods of data transmission continue to become more ubiquitous, there’s constantly less reason to haul around boxes of paper products.  Paper is, of course, extremely heavy when you have a lot of it, and boxes of brochures and catalogs can quickly become too expensive to be worth the effort of hauling around.

Consider using a few tablet computers and other interactive media displays to hold and display your promotional materials instead, and use email or social media to send digital materials to interested parties. Paper products should be reserved as special orders for qualified leads whoreally want them. Otherwise, most people are fine with digital copies of promo materials.

Plus, going paperless is a good Eco-conscious move, so you can save money and get a nice PR talking point at the same time!

4 – Source and Store Locally

If you must have printed materials, consider sourcing them locally and having them delivered to the trade show exhibit space, rather than shipping them cross-country.  You can often find prices comparable to anywhere else in the country and, of course, you’ll pay vastly less on shipping costs. (Tip – there are FedEx offices almost everywhere, and you can upload files to be printed and collated, near almost every convention center). Shipping is one of the biggest hidden costs in trade shows.

If there are certain trade shows you frequent in the same location year after year, why haul your materials back and forth?  Long-term storage units are extremely inexpensive, and can give you a stable “home” for your trade show display whenever you aren’t exhibiting.  Then, you’re only looking at hauling your materials for a few miles, rather than cross-country.

If you’re concerned about their condition, look for climate-controlled storage units.  Properly stored, display materials housed in this way will be good for years, and they’ll always be right there when you need them for the next exposition!

5 – Use Intangible Freebies

Your promotional items are another part of your trade show displays that can get very weighty, very quickly.  While it might be tempting to haul along boxes of existing merchandise to your next trade show appearance, to get rid of them if nothing else, at the end of the day you may be paying far more than they’ll ever be worth as promotional items.

Similar to how you can get rid of paper catalogs and brochures, you can also cut out most or all of your freebies.  Consider offering discounts, or exclusive downloads, rather than physical objects.  Besides saving space and weight, this is also a great incentive for gathering email addresses and\or social media contacts.

If you want to automate the process, utilize QR Codes that people can scan to automatically get onto your mailing list and access your digital freebie package.  A few “scan stations” around your expo display will encourage people to explore your offerings, and keep them interacting with you via their mobile devices.

Keep Looking For Ways To Keep Costs Down

While it would be extremely difficult to come up with a plan for your next trade show that eliminates all transportation costs, at least aside from your crew, there’s still a lot you can do to keep the shipping weight down.  There’s probably no better way you can reduce your costs than to use fabric exhibit booth backdrops and that means you get more returns from your exposition appearances! Trade show walls are also be reused to get more bang for your buck.

Related articles:

How To Save Money And Still Have Great Exhibition Displays
Free Tips on Freebies for Trade Show Displays
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