Better Hardware, Bigger Sales
In the past, Midler said, the rule of thumb was to “spend an awful lot of money on unique and custom displays.” Today, the priority is being able to economically ship or transport the unit. That’s been a factor in the increased popularity of the retractable banner stand, which can be shipped for low cost or carried right onto an airplane.
“The trade show market we participate in has gotten very clever in creating custom-looking and unique display systems at very affordable prices,” he added.
During this evolution, Midler and Berger came to a key realization. Like just about everyone else in the business, they had always carried product lines based almost entirely on price considerations, and didn’t recognize the substantial differences in display stand quality among different providers offering different prices, he says. But when their clients used those cheaply-made stands regularly, the stands frequently broke, leading to major dissatisfaction among the customer base.
The result: Presentech moved to a premium-quality stand, a strategy that quickly spurred its most significant recent growth spurt. “That gave us the confidence to know that the hardware was of as high-quality as the graphics we were printing,” Midler said.
“Since we switched to ExpoLinc, we never had a customer call or complaint. And that confidence allows you to easily market a stand, regardless of the price point. We quickly learned so many people had been burned by bad stands out there, that if you could explain the difference in quality, the price became irrelevant to them.”
Other trends impacting Presentech include increased use of refillable stands, a trend toward greater modularity and a desire among more clients to “Go Green.”
Because many customers are striving to ensure their investments in trade show hardware last as long as possible, they are becoming increasingly interested in refillable stands, Midler said. “One of the features we liked about the ExpoLinc product was the ability to send the customer a self-contained cartridge with a new graphic, allowing them to swap it out themselves in a few minutes.”
Companies are also seeking greater modularity and flexibility. They don’t want trade show displays that only work in one setting or for only one purpose, Midler said.
Instead, they demand displays versatile enough to be used for a large or small show or individualized client presentations. They want to pick and choose components they use, or they choose a fraction of the components available to them. “It’s all about flexibility and ease of use,” he reported. “It all goes back to that issue of economy. But you want to do this while getting something that you know will be sure to hold up.”
Presentech has received a growing number of inquiries from clients for more earth-friendly materials and processes, said Midler. “[Customers] don’t want to throw things in the garbage, and by being able to reuse the stand with new graphics, they’re cutting down on the amount of waste they generate,” Midler said. “People are happy to be environmentally conscious as long as it doesn’t cost them more, or inconvenience them. And with this refillable stand, there is no penalty. There’s only savings.”
Rezac’s Total Graphic Solutions is another shop meeting customer requests for ecologically sound materials. “Green is the new buzzword,” said Rezac, who reported many customers were asking for biodegradable substrates, and placing notes on the bottom of their exhibits reading, “Produced on biodegradable materials.”
Farrell, too, saw a demand for greater sustainability on the part of his clients. They’re more conscious of how systems are built, and of the need to reduce waste. “By cutting down on the size and weight of displays you’re shipping to shows, you are leaving less of a carbon footprint,” he said. “This is an ongoing trend.”