Connect with us

Blogs & Perspectives

Give Me Some Creativity

Show after show, the industry is seeking one thing: a visual extravaganza



“It’s like the good old days.” That was the sentiment I heard from one exhibitor at GlobalShop last week as he shared his thoughts on the annual trade show. To be specific, he was talking about the number of people walking the aisles as well as the quality. And I certainly noticed the larger teams of retailers and designers in attendance. Whereas last year, maybe one or two employees got to check out the show, this year’s groups were more likely to number five and up.

And it’s not just GlobalShop. NRF’s The Big Show reported record-breaking attendance in January. EuroShop welcomed its largest exhibitor and attendee base ever just over a month ago. If there’s one thing we can already say about 2011, it’s that we’re all starting to travel again. And that’s a welcome sign.

Still, there’s something missing.

In conversations at many of these shows, I hear attendees remarking on the lack of new products or ingenuity in booth design. Certainly we can give a pass for the last few years when everyone went into survival mode. But those days are past. There’s a buzz of activity. Projects are getting the green light again. In turn, those involved in retail projects are attending trade shows and conferences again. But they’re looking to be inspired. Instead, I’m hearing comments like, “They aren’t speaking to our audience,” or “I don’t even understand what they’re selling.”

Thankfully, there are some shining examples of companies that clearly get it. Just check out VMSD’s Best Booth winners  from GlobalShop for some visions in creative thinking.

But overall, I think this audience of retail executives, designers, visual merchandisers and window geniuses are walking away a bit unfilled. Just as a store needs to create some excitement, an expectation or interest to draw shoppers inside, exhibitors need to do the same. The same rules that apply to a good shopping experience should be used by purveyors of fixtures, lighting, mannequins and everything in between.


And don’t think it has to cost a fortune. While there are many companies that pour a good portion of their annual budget into creating a wow factor, just as many show their magic using everyday materials like paper, birdhouses, permanent markers … and some imagination.

So while the past few years were about getting by, the rising number of visitors to industry trade shows indicates the tide is turning. The attention is there. It’s up to the suppliers and manufacturers in this industry to deliver a vision worth remembering.

For some creative inspiration, check out VMSD's slideshow  of GlobalShop 2011. And don’t miss our June issue for the latest new products and trends spotted on the trade show floor.



MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular