Is it Time to Upgrade Your Modular or Pop-Up Display?

Is your modular or pop-up trade show display more than half a decade old? Do the creaking frame and faded graphics make you pause and wonder if it’s time for a new exhibit? After all, trade show displays are built to last, but they will not last forever. The trade show circuit takes a toll, and even the sturdiest exhibits take a beating over repeated cycles of shipping, set up, show floor activity, and takedown.

However, how do you know when it’s the right time to buy? It’s possible your current display just needs some new graphics or an accessory or two to modernize it. So, ask yourself these questions to ensure it’s the right time to buy a new pop-up or modular display.

  1. Does your display feel like the trade show equivalent of skinny jeans?

Ah, skinny jeans. They once dotted the brunch and coffee shop landscape. Today, they’re mostly seen on our dad because mom just bought him that expensive pair, and he’ll be darned if he’s going to buy another pair so soon.   

However, unlike dad and his skinny jeans, you can’t wait 30 years for a trade show booth to come back into style.

There are many reasons that booths fall out of fashion: wear and tear from years on the road, evolutions in your marketing strategy, and shifts in your target market’s wants and needs are just a few. The average trade show exhibit has a three- to five-year lifecycle. After that, it's tough to energize an expo crowd with a display that looks old and dated.

However, just because you need a new exhibit doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a new exhibit. If your display is between three and five years old, you may have a choice between refreshing, refurbishing, and renewing.

Take some time to examine your display thoroughly:

  • Pop the frame open and note any bent rods, dented areas, and other flaws.
  • Assemble the exhibit and carefully examine the fabric graphics for tears and further damage.

Once the physical examination is over, it’s time to make a critical evaluation of your display:

  • Does the size of your booth match the impression you wish to make on the show floor?
  • Is your branding up to date?
  • Do your existing graphics and messages align with your current products, services, and marketing goals?
  • Do the graphics address the needs of your target audience?
  • Does your messaging fit the shows you attend the most?
  • Does your exhibit make you stand apart from the surrounding displays and your industry competitors at events?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you need to either refresh, refurbish, or renew – especially if you noted some damage to the display.

  1. Could accessories bring life back to your trade show booth?

If there isn’t a lot of wear and tear on your display, your branding is on point, and your messaging is essentially up to date, the solution to your issue could be easy and inexpensive: refresh.

It’s amazing how the addition of a few accessories can bring an aging exhibit back to life:

  • A new countertop completely alters the appearance of your booth.
  • Table throws modernize the look of an old table or counter while hiding chips and dents.
  • A banner stand or two immediately updates products and messaging.

 New trade show accessories can perform miracles in reviving a slightly aging display. However, if you found significant flaws or your exhibit is significantly past its prime, you have a more important decision to make.

  1. Does it make sense to refurbish your current exhibit or renew and buy a new one?

Because displays with aluminum structures are very easy to reskin, refurbishing a pop-up or modular display typically means creating new graphic fabrics and restoring existing or purchasing new finishes. You may also need to repair or replace some parts of the frame, especially if a bent or damaged piece interferes with the function or aesthetics of the exhibit.

Naturally, the more work required to refurbish a display, the more it costs, which means refurbishing is not always the most financially beneficial choice. Whether to refurbish or renew is usually solved through a combination of math and gut instinct.

There is a formula you can use to determine the exact current value of your trade show display. Take the cost of your display when it was initially purchased and subtract its depreciation value over the years. For example, if you purchased a modular exhibit for $10,000 and the depreciation value is $7,000, your net value is $3,000 ($10,000 - $7,000 = $3,000).

 Next, decide what you need to do to refurbish your exhibit and find out how much that would cost. If the modifications cost more than your net value ($3,000), dump your current exhibit and buy a new one. If the refurb is less than $3,000, keeping the exhibit and updating it may make financial sense.

However, nothing is ever that easy. Let’s say your display is five years old with that $3,000 net value and a refurb cost of $2,500. Will the old bones of your exhibit last for the value of that shiny new $2,500 paint job? Maybe, maybe not. That’s where your gut instinct comes to play.

Then there’s the pesky issue of figuring out your display’s deprecation value. For high dollar items, the IRS determines that value. There are forms and tables, and it really helps to either be an accountant or have one on hand to wangle that figure.

If just the thought of determining deprecation gives you a headache, then let the math take you as far as it will go and turn to your gut instincts. If you believe you’ll get the maximum value by refurbishing your exhibit, then do it. If, however, you feel it makes more sense to purchase a new exhibit, then that’s the correct answer.

Whether you decide it’s time to refresh, refurbish, or renew, Exhibit Store has precisely what you need. Give us a call at 800-234-6760 or contact us here to discover how our solutions solve your problems.