4 Reasons that Custom-branded Packaging is a Smart Tradeshow Investment


Planning your tradeshow appearance involves a lot of considerations. It means everything from choosing a tradeshow that fits your budget, to working out how to transport your products to the location. But it’s important that you don’t forget about ways to market your brand! Tradeshows are an opportunity to put yourself before a new audience, so putting your best foot forward is the first step to success.

If you want to create a lasting impression within a competitive environment, custom-branded packaging is a fantastic marketing tool to consider. This blog will discuss the top four reasons why custom packaging is a great investment, and how you can bring it into your next tradeshow event:

It makes your booth stand out

To sell products at a tradeshow, you obviously need to attract people into your vicinity. This is why designing a booth that attracts heavy foot traffic is vital.

Of course, it’s that much harder when every business is trying to do the same thing! No matter what event your brand is attending, there will be intense competition for attention. If your displays aren’t attractive and engaging, it’s unlikely that your brand will get much of a look-in.

This is where custom packaging is a fantastic strategy to kick your booth up a notch. According to the Paper & Packaging Board, over 70% of consumers agree that packaging design influences what products they purchase. Why? Because humans rely on quick visual cues to aid decision-making, especially when there are lots of choices available. A customer walking around an exhibition hall can’t possibly remember all of the products on offer - but they will remember the booths which have a clear point of difference.



Due to its presence in upscale retail establishments, custom-branded packaging also helps your products appear more upmarket. When products feel exclusive, they become far more appealing! Stationery brand Life Admin wraps its journals in branded tissue paper to display on shelves, which gives both the product and the brand a more luxurious edge.

It builds brand recognition

Even for experienced attendees, tradeshows can be quite an overwhelming experience - there are hundreds of brand names and logos competing within a small space. This saturation makes it harder for businesses to stand out from all the noise and build brand recognition. 

Although there are many different metrics for measuring the success of a tradeshow, the best way to monitor long-term gains is the number of repeat customers an event has generated for your brand. 40% of the average business’s revenue is made by 8% of its customers, so you don’t just want a customer to buy from you at the show; you want to turn them into repeat business!

However, this is difficult if customers don’t know where to find you once a tradeshow is over. It’s hard to communicate this information directly to every person who visits your stand, so a common strategy by brands is to give out business cards or flyers to build their brand image. But these can easily be misplaced before the day is done. One thing your customer is unlikely to lose? Their purchase! Printing custom-branded packaging with your logo, brand name, and social media handles replaces the need for promotional flyers, ensuring that customers will leave the tradeshow with the information they need.

A clever branded packaging design by Squiffy Print

A clever branded packaging design by Squiffy Print

When your customer returns home and unwraps their purchase, they can engage with these crucial details uninterrupted by the hustle and bustle of the tradeshow. If this leads to your customer looking up your website or Instagram feed, you are a step closer to another purchase!

It’s a great opportunity for engagement 

Custom packaging isn’t just about enhancing a product’s appearance - it’s also about the ritual. Offering gift-wrapping at your stand is a lovely piece of theatre because tradeshows are so often frantic and busy places. Taking the time to wrap up your customers’ purchases makes your brand much more memorable, and elevates you above the other stalls in the vicinity. 


This is especially important if you are at a tradeshow that revolves around a niche market, such as stationery or handmade crafts. In this scenario, standing out on the basis of your products alone can be challenging. This is where going the extra mile to deliver a stand-out customer experience can make all the difference. 

It provides some great social media marketing opportunities 

Making use of your social media channels is vital if you are going to create a buzz around your tradeshow attendance. After all, none of your followers will know you are there unless you tell them! Social media is also a great way to publicize any limited-edition products or promotions that may you have running over the course of the tradeshow. 

As any small business owner knows, fantastic visual content is the key to a great social media strategy. To stay organized, It’s a great idea to plan out some content in advance for the lead-up to the tradeshow and for when it’s taking place. But finding inspiration isn’t always easy - to stand out amongst the other brands posting about an upcoming tradeshow, you need to think a little outside the box.

A lovely Instagram flatlay by Mombi & Ted!

A lovely Instagram flatlay by Mombi & Ted!

Custom packaging isn’t just a great tool for in-person marketing - it works just as well online. In the virtual space, custom packaging provides an engaging value proposition to your followers; it says that you offer an immersive brand experience, rather than just a product. Whether it’s videos of you packing up your products for the tradeshow or stills of your packages at the booth, custom packaging provides far more visual interest than regular product photography.

Before the internet, attractive packaging would only have been seen by the recipient. Today, you can share your design with thousands. In short, there has never been a better time to make this investment! 

What kind of custom packaging is the best fit for a tradeshow?

Sourcing custom packaging for any retail event, whether it be a tradeshow, a pop-up shop or an after-hours store event, involves considering the following:

What is your budget?

Setting a budget is a vital part of having a successful trade show experience. As both a marketing tool and a part of your booth decor, custom packaging should factor into these considerations as well. 

When you are choosing a packaging supplier for a one-off event, MOQs (Minimum Order Quantities) is the most important thing to keep in mind. Choosing a supplier with a low MOQ means a lower upfront investment, ideal for smaller businesses who might be new to doing tradeshows. However the bigger the order is, the lower the cost per unit, which saves money in the long run.

To figure out what custom packaging will cost you, you need to consider the length and size of the tradeshow. How many days is it? How many people are attending? How much product have you committed to bringing? It’s always better to over-estimate what you think you might need - the last thing you want is to run out partway through!

How complex is your design to put together?

Everyone wants their packaging design to be a work of art, but it’s also important to be practical. Packaging up products before the tradeshow is a great way to save time, but it’s likely that you will still have to undertake some gift-wrapping at the booth as well.  Wax seals or ribbons make lovely finishing touches to a package, but are fiddly and add a lot of time to the wrapping process. If you have limited staffing at your booth, this will really slow things down.


Instead, consider using customized stickers. As shown above by art and stationery brand Quinn the Fox, stickers naturally draw the eye and so provide great opportunity to show off your logo or brand name. They are also low-maintenance and easy to whip out for decorating the outside of packages or sealing the edges of gift wrap! 

How much space do you have for storage?

Setting up for a tradeshow can be stressful, especially if you are on a tight timeframe. You don’t want your packaging to be something extra to stress over! Whether you are transporting your packaging materials yourself or getting it delivered to the venue, storage pace will be at a premium. So, you need to factor this in to what packaging elements are most appropriate for your needs.

A tasteful branded gift bag and tissue paper combo, like this one by Sightsee, is an easy custom packaging design to bring to a tradeshow.

A tasteful branded gift bag and tissue paper combo, like this one by Sightsee, is an easy custom packaging design to bring to a tradeshow.

Space at your booth is likely to be limited, and you certainly don’t want your packaging to clutter up your floor space. Elements such as custom tissue paper or custom gift bags can be easily folded and tucked away beneath tables for easy access when needed, making them a great choice for tradeshows.

Investing in custom-branded packaging for your next tradeshow will add further value to your offerings, and makes your brand far more memorable to customers. It’s also a great way to trial whether it may have a place within your wider operation. If you get a positive reception, why not consider bringing custom packaging into your online orders too? This allows you to reap the benefits year-round!

Beth Owens is the Content Strategist and resident unboxing expert at noissue. Their premium custom tissue paper is acid-free and FSC-certified as being socially and environmentally responsible in its production. Their low minimum order quantities and quick turnarounds mean that they are suited to help everyone, from small independent businesses to Fortune 500 companies.



Connect with Katie Hunt

Katie Hunt is a business strategist, podcaster, mentor and mama to four. She helps product based businesses build profitable, sustainable companies through her conferences, courses and coaching programs.

Website: prooftoproduct.com  |   Instagram: @prooftoproduct

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