This article outlines some of the best, and often overlooked, ways to harness technology to maximise your investment on a trade show or exhibition stand.

If you're spending thousands on a stand at a trade show or expo this year, you need to maximise your investment by making sure you can qualify every lead and take every order that comes your way. Current technology makes it much simpler to get the best out of a trade show stand - with the right software it's possible to send orders straight back to your warehouse, for example, so there is no chance of losing paper orders in the hustle and bustle of the day.

Mobile Sales Order Processing

Good stock control software often includes an option to take orders on the move which can make a huge difference to your business, particularly if you participate in a lot of exhibitions. Es Consulting (www.warehouse-management.co.uk) include a mobile order module in their Sage Barcoder product so that sales staff can scan in the required products and a pick list will be generated in the warehouse within seconds. Theoretically this could mean that the order is despatched before your new contact has even returned to their office!

Badge scanning

Many trade shows offer an option for scanning the badges of delegates, which will already contain all their contact information and even their preferences about the kind of suppliers or products that they are looking for. If badge scanning is an option, you will usually need to provide your own handheld scanner, or sometimes it is possible to hire one from the tradeshow organisers. The bonus of badge scanning, besides the fact that it will make your operation look smoother on the day, is that there is no chance of losing vital bits of paper or business cards which relate to that great new contact.

Don't forget the basics

It's amazing how many people will forget something as simple as a laptop so that they can access Wi-Fi at the event or even decent lighting to make their stand shine. Internet access will always be invaluable especially if it's actually available at your stand so that you can carry out some quick research on contacts or stay in touch with your office. And a well-lit stand that isn't reliant on the basic spotlights that are usually provided by event organisers will have more of an impact than any flashy graphics or flatscreen T.V's.

Proximity marketing

Bluetooth marketing may not have had the impact that was expected on a day-to-day basis, but it can still be quite useful for trade shows and exhibitions. It's possible to hire or buy bluetooth advertising products which will roam the event and notify delegates, via their mobile phone, about prize draws, special offers or events that are about to take place at your stand. The trick with this kind of software is not to overdo it – no-one wants to be bombarded with messages from the same exhibitor over and over again, just one or two key messages throughout the course of the day should be effective in driving footfall to your stand.

Author's Bio: 

Hugh Smith owns es consulting, a warehouse management consultancy that has developed stock control software that integrates seamlessly with Sage 50 to increase productivity and profitability. Sage Barcoder includes modules for product tracking, EPOS and mobile sales order processing.