Explaining Our Value – Exhibit Houses vs. Online Retailers

Much has been written about the value of qualified exhibit houses verses online retailers.

Although we want to win every job, it’s getting harder and harder to compete with the cheap prices of the online guys. We know it’s our quality products, knowledge and customer service that separates us from them.

The truth is, this isn’t a battle we’re always going to win. At some point, we may need to let a project go, as we cannot sacrifice the reputations we have established for ourselves by cutting margins, selling sub-par products or spinning our wheels trying to deal with said products after they’ve failed the client.

Often, it is hard to put into words why you cannot fulfill your client’s request. How can you best explain the balance between wanting to help them and maintaining the standards that are important to you and your company?

Dear Client:

As your Exhibit House, we are always looking out for the best interest of your marketing efforts and budget. We value our relationship and vow to only provide you with the best quality products based on your needs. We will listen to you, help you and guide you through options, the design process, production, shipping and delivery.

We acknowledge that sometimes our process, guidelines and timelines might seem stringent, but that is only so you receive your final product in the most cost-effective way. Can we do it quicker? Sure, but know that the final product may not be 100% and it will likely cost more to expedite.

We will not sacrifice our standards and potentially our relationship by providing sub-par products. We cannot provide and support a product we do not believe in. By offering such products, this cheapens our brand and our standards. That is not what we strive for. Our #1 goal is to always help you put your best foot forward.

We understand that all online products are not created equal. There are some decent, lesser expensive options out there, we’ve seen them ourselves. However, we have opted to partner with established vendors in the industry, with proven track records, to ensure that you continue to receive quality products.

Remember that our products and support will come with a price. We must pay for the excellent products, quality staff and infrastructure to create and support the products.

In return, we promise to try and understand when you tell us your boss just wants the cheapest price, you need something delivered tomorrow or you just plan to throw it away after your event, so quality doesn’t matter. If you promise not to cut us out of the picture altogether. Let us know how we can best help you be successful. Remember, ours is an ever-evolving relationship. What works for us today might not work for us tomorrow and that’s ok. By communicating and working together, we’ll both continue to be successful.


Your Exhibit House

If you need to provide additional support as to why your products are better than the online retailers, here’s a brief run-down of what a qualified exhibit house can provide vs. the online retailers (this is just a brief list, I’m sure there are many others!)

 Here’s what you might receive when purchasing display items online:
  • Vinyl graphics and other less-expensive substrates – Often used on banner stands. You’ll know it when you see the edge curl. You might eventually see delamination, scratching and creasing.
  • Color and printing inconsistencies – Your corporate color is PMS 309. What you get might be somewhat close. If you can specify a match at all.
  • Graphic and panel alignments – Want to print a large graphic across multiple panels? It may or may not line up due to graphic printing, finishing and/or hardware application.
  • No warranties – Did that literature stand break after 6 months? Guess it’s time to buy a new one.
  • You want to reconfigure that island extrusion booth? Sorry, that’s not possible.
Here’s what you will receive with you collaborate with an exhibit house for all your purchases:
  • Knowledgeable staff – We can talk through the options with you, guiding you to the right products.
  • Trained designers –Not sure how to set up your art? Did you set your art up wrong? Need someone to create the art for you? Do you need an environment designed from the ground up? We can help you out.
  • High quality printing – If you need a color match, printed proof or need to match colors over various mediums, we can make sure they come out clean, crisp, bright and correct.
  • High quality products – Know that we only sell and stand behind products provided by established vendors in the industry, most offering some type of warranty.
  • Extras – Customized packing solutions, detailed set up instructions, set up photos, full design and support services.
  • Experience – Most of us have been around a while. Collectively, it’s probably thousands of years of knowledge. Let us help you plan and budget for your trade show marketing needs so you can start to integrate better quality products.


Article Written by Jennifer Bowen, T.E.A.M. Program Manager at PRO Expo Exhibits

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