Attendees at B2C trade shows want to buy products right there on the show floor. With the right technology you can make cashless sales a breeze.

According to a new report by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)*, 57% of attendees can’t resist the opportunity to make on-premises product purchases. The downside? Only 19% of exhibitors have the technology to provide an in-booth shopping experience.

So how can you facilitate on-premises selling?

There are two avenues associations and exhibitors can take. The first is for the association to create a cashless sales environment by allowing attendees to pay for products with the scan of their badge. This is a major trend in the travel and entertainment industries, which have had remarkable success incorporating the technology. Bear in mind that cashless sales environments are best suited for consumer-oriented or business-to-business-to-consumer shows that have the potential for high-volume sales such as in the specialty foods, fashion, and pet care markets.

If you’re exhibiting at a show that doesn’t offer a cashless environment, you can still allow booth visitors to make on-the-spot purchases by having tablets or kiosks backed by dedicated and reliable Wi-Fi that can be used to access secure online shopping carts.

Let’s explore both options.


Cashless Sales Events

Making your trade show a cashless environment will surely excite exhibitors and attendees and will ultimately take your event to the next level. For exhibitors, it offers a chance to increase on-site revenues and access deeper customer data analytics. For attendees, it provides greater convenience, enhanced safety, and faster transactions.

So why hasn’t it gained traction at trade shows? Associations may be under the misconception that it’s too complicated or expensive to set up. Implementing the infrastructure needed to support cashless the right way takes an investment, but one that’s worthwhile. The idea is that if you focus on adding to the attendee experience, you’ll be rewarded when they return year after year and spread the word that your show is not to be missed. And if the concert industry is any indication, this cashless environment has the potential to pay off big time for exhibitors. Studies have shown a 20% average increase in concertgoer spending when cashless technology is used.

A cashless sales event is made possible via radio frequency identification technology (RFID), which is a wireless, non-contact system that uses radio waves to transfer data from a carrier to a device. Attendees who register for the show are issued badges with lanyards as they’ve become accustomed to. Only these badges are implanted with RFID-enabled smart cards that allow for access control and cashless payments. Ideally, attendees activate RFID payments by linking a credit card to their smart badge prior to the event. Beyond that, on-premises support for cashless RFID payments takes power, internet, and personnel.

Exhibitor-managed selling

Exhibitors who wish to offer in-booth sales at trade shows that do not automatically support a cashless sales environment can certainly do so with the right technology. The first piece of the technology puzzle you’ll need to establish is stable and dedicated Wi-Fi on the show floor. Bear in mind that Wi-Fi isn’t always available at the venue, and if it is, it’s often unreliable. Therefore, it’s advisable to rent a Wi-Fi solution to ensure fast, seamless, and secure connections over which purchases can be made. Exhibitors must also equip their booths with iPads/tablets, interactive product displays, or eStore access via kiosks from which customers can shop for products. On-premises purchasing technology can be rented and delivered anywhere in the country when you partner with an experienced event technology rental provider.

To find out how easy it is to set up in-booth purchasing at your next trade show, speak with a member of the knowledgeable technology staff at SmartSource Computer & Audio Visual Rentals.


*Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) 2017 Attendee Floor Engagement Study, Part One: Exhibitor In-Booth Tactics – People, Product, Emotion, and Other Tactics. Please see People-to-Product Engagement Tactics Most Used by Attendees bar graph on page 4.