Trade Show Shipping & Logistics 101

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Trade Show Shipping & Logistics 101

With so many items to ship before a trade show, it can be challenging to complete everything in time. Exhibitors often have in-booth advertising, brochures, booth linens and swag to ship to the trade show. To make sure that everything arrives in time, start planning the logistics of your trade show in advance. Meticulous management is necessary to make sure that all of the display components arrive on time for the start of the show.

Planning ahead is crucial to ensuring your materials arrive on time.

Planning ahead is crucial to ensuring your materials arrive on time.

Start Preparing Six Months from the Trade Show

At this point in the preparation process, you should be setting your objective for the next trade show. You should look at your marketing return on investment and see your results from last year. As the month progresses, it is time to start choosing your booth spaces and the trade shows that you want to attend. Review your display for the trade show and make sure that it will work. You should also set your budget based on your company’s financial state and what worked last year.

Goals for 2-4 Months from the Show

At four months from the start of the show, you should be choosing booth staffers, inviting builders for your booth and researching the technology that you need. In the third month before your trade show, you should be figuring out all of the deadlines for discounted rates and services. Start thinking about the promotions that you will use before and during the show to bring in leads.

Two months before the trade show, you really have to start looking for promotions. It is time to order promotional items and uniforms for the show. Do not wait until the last minute to order these items. Arrange travel tickets and hotel rooms for your staff. If you need exhibit building services or services at the show, order them now.

To-Do List for 2-4 Weeks Before the Trade Show

With the trade show quickly arriving, it is time to send out your pre-show promotional materials. Train your staffers for the show and order any final services that you require from the show book. You should also order your at-show promotional materials now. Ship your exhibit to an advanced warehouse a month before the show to save on shipping and ensure that it reaches the show in time.

Marketing materials - like brochures - can be heavy. Make sure to allow plenty of budget for shipping costs!

Marketing materials – like brochures – can be heavy. Make sure to allow plenty of budget for shipping costs!

With just two weeks left, you need to make sure that your staff members are fully prepared. It is time to send along supplies like the snacks, clipboards, pens, wipes, staplers, mints and water bottles that your staffers will need. If you are sending more promotional materials, you may want to send them through first-class mail to make sure that they arrive before the event.

The Last-Minute Rush

In the week before the trade show, you have to start collecting all of the documents that you will need at the show. You should create lead fulfillment packets for the staff members who process leads. At the same time, call the shipping warehouse to make sure that your exhibit has arrived.

Best Practices for Trade Show Shipping and Logistics

  • Use online tracking so that you can easily find your shipments.
  • Consider using a dedicated truck if you have many shipments so that you have the most power over the delivery’s location and timeline.
  • Make sure the shipment arrives before the move-in day for the show so that you are not charged a fee.
  • Send everything early and check to make sure that it has arrived.
  • Create a timeline for important dates and cut-offs.

With the right preparation, you can make sure that your trade show shipping is completed in plenty of time. From sending out the exhibit to shipping promotional materials, there are many steps to getting ready for the show. Create a to-do list for everything you need to accomplish and try to complete tasks ahead of schedule. For more on trade show logistics, see our comprehensive trade show planning guide and timeline infographic.

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Trade Show Shipping & Logistics 101

by charleseckert time to read: 3 min
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