How to Choose Quality Trade Show Merchandise

A trade show is an event which brings together industry members to display and discuss their products and services. An example of a well known trade show is CES, which is produced by the Consumer Technology Association and touted as “the world's gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies”. By nature, trade shows provide a combination of opportunities, including exhibitor space, workshops or presentations, interaction with media, networking, private events, and awards components. Exhibitors who participate tend to be hoping to build relationships with potential vendors, suppliers, media, or consumers. One of the tactics exhibitors use to create such relationships entails utilizing branded merchandise and apparel giveaways.

The Importance of Promotional Item Giveaways at Trade Shows

Promotional products such as merchandise or apparel are perfect giveaways for trade shows. However, with the scope of products you can give away at your booth including everything from stickers, sunglasses, and water bottles to flash drives, towels, t-shirts, hoodies and swag bags, it’s important to provide quality promotional products that will last, creating a positive impression for your brand for months to come. In fact, a 2016 study by PPAI revealed that 88% of promotional product recipients remember the name of the advertiser on the products, while 85% of the recipients do business with the advertiser on the product. With more than 83% of people enjoying receiving promotional products, this not only proves that they work, but confirms the importance of providing a quality item which reinforces brand messaging.

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Price shouldn’t be your deciding factor. Rather than price, make sure your vendor understands three main things: your audience, your business, and your goals. Further, making sure your vendor understands how these three aspects influence your marketing goals helps them to be able to optimize your order.

What does it Cost to Participate at a Trade Show?

Participation at trade shows, while the format can vary, typically runs into the thousands of dollars. You can reasonably expect costs to include items such as -

  • Floor space rental for your booth

  • Design and production of your booth

  • Shipping of your booth and other ancillary items

  • Personnel costs (such as additional exhibitor passes for your team)

  • Travel and accommodation

  • Marketing materials

  • Promotional products for giveaways

Quality Apparel and Merchandise for Trade Shows

Selecting, designing, and producing a brand stamped product is an exciting process which allows you to have fun with your brand. Keeping fun, function, and impact in mind, here are our top apparel and promotional product recommendations for quality buzz-worthy trade show giveaways.

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  • Sunglasses - Ensure your customers look their best in a pair of branded sunglasses. Sunglasses offer a fun, unique avenue for promoting your business and are available in a range of styles and colors which can be designed to suit your brand’s personality and quality perception.

  • Towels - Candidates will love these high quality, design trending, apparel and promo goods which they can take to the pool, shower, or gym at a conference or trade show, ensuring your brand is proudly on parade.

  • Bottle Opener Business Cards  - Fun and functional, the trick to quality with this promotional item is in the weight, and cut, of the metal used to create the highly useful promotional tool.

  • Chargers and Power Banks - If there’s one thing attendees are short on at trade shows, it is juice for their electronics such as phones or tablet computers. These promotional products are highly popular because they are functional - people use them! Talk about effective swag. To maintain a quality feel, keep your branding minimal, classy, and simple.

  • USB Drives - These promo items are functional and fun. Add creativity by customizing your USB drive so as to reinforce your brand identity. Given you’re competing with all of the promotional products on offer by other exhibitors it makes sense to go the extra mile and ensure your promo goods stand out.

  • Laptop Bags - Given the higher price point of laptop bags, these are typically reserved as a premium item for VIP’s or Media at your booth. Using bespoke stitching and decoration techniques, you can easily adapt the bag to your own custom design, branding it effectively and compiling gift sets of smaller items (such as sunglasses, and towels) to create a larger swag bag. Give these out in return for a business card or badge scan.

  • Headphones - A favorite at every trade show or conference, branded earbuds are the perfect quality promotional item because they’re always good to have in spades. Who doesn’t love remembering they have a spare pair in their new laptop bag when they discover they just lost theirs? More importantly, the white space on the ear piece is perfect for your smaller, discreetly branded logo.

  • Premium T-shirts & Quality Hoodies - Attendees and staff will be dressed for success when they wear your tee or hoodie made from premium material. Look for materials which allow custom branding components called sublimation, allowing you to create intricate designs and patterns which are embedded into the fabric such as inside the hood on sweatshirts or across the front of the body on tees. Such materials include a range of other properties, such as being durable, soft, never shrinking, and wrinkle resistance, making the fabric the perfect material for your quality apparel.

  • Puffy Jackets - reward consumers and ensure your company name will be on display when they layer up in colder months. Available in materials and features that include Nylon Outer, WaterProof HQ Zips, Poly/Nylon Liner, 1200 Synthetic Fill and Poly/Cotton Sleeves and Hood, you are able to fully customize the experience for attendees.

With your swag in order, you can confidently start planning and designing your booth and marketing your presence at the trade show or event. Ensuring you have a strategic marketing plan in place, one which covers quality apparel and promotional products for the trade show as a key component, will set you up for success.

Lastly, when ordering your apparel and promotional products, ensure there’s a quality check in place. Ask for a sample before moving onto full production or a quality assurance check upon receipt of your order by the vendor from their manufacturer. You’re spending valuable money on the trade show merchandise and event giveaways, you should have the opportunity to ensure consistency in the quality of the materials you order.

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Dayna Young

Written by Dayna Young More by this author Arrow