If you’re in a business where you’re selling an actual product, you know just how important and tricky getting that product safely to the show and out at the close of the show can be.
Fortunately, here at RGo, we’ve got years of experience providing product handling support for our clients, and we understand just how critical this operation is for the success of a show. We thought we’d share a few tips and tricks with you to help your next show product experience go off without a hitch.
How Valuable is your Product?
The most important thing you need to do from the onset is determine exactly how valuable your product is. Are you shipping in unique, one-of-a-kind samples? Are you shipping in generic off-the-shelf and easily replaceable items? Is your product highly valuable or desirable? The answers to these questions should ground your decisions for all of the steps that follow.
Do you Need Security?
If your product is indeed valuable, we highly recommend you employ security guards to be on duty at all times that the product will be at the exhibit, from the minute it hits the show floor to the minute it is picked up after dismantle. Depending on the value, you may consider only having security at the exhibit when it is not occupied. If your product is easily and cheaply replaceable, the cost for security may be much more than the cost to have a replacement pulled and sent back to you. You’ll need to weigh all your options here to decide how to proceed.
Where to Ship?
You’ve got a few options to consider when deciding where to ship your product. Again, keeping your product’s value in mind is critical here. You can ship direct to show site, which may be the simplest, but also leaves your product vulnerable to theft as the time it gets delivered is not guaranteed. Another option would be to ship it directly to your hotel room. The security at the hotel is definitely better than the show floor, however if it’s a good deal of product, you may have lots of trouble getting it to your booth. Another option RGo offers is shipping directly to our warehouse, for shows in select cities such as Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and others. By shipping directly to our warehouse, you can be sure your product will be kept in a secure location and not brought to the show until a time and date of your specification. This helps ensure our team is there to receive it and that your security is already in place when it arrives.
What About Product Setup?
You’ll have only a limited amount of time before the show to set up your product. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you have team members or RGo’s crew to help assist you and your team with the product setup. The last thing you want is to be working all night the day before show opening because of a lack of staff! Keep in mind any specific items you may need for setup as well. If you’re working with clothing, we can rent you steamers. Setting up on a slatwall or peg wall? Just let us know and we’ll have peghooks and brackets ready for you.
WHAT DO I DO WITH MY BOXES?!?!?
Ah, the last thing on anyone’s mind and the most annoying thing to have to deal with after you’re done. You’ve got a few options here. If your breakdown is many days, and you’ve planned on coming back the day after the show closes to break down your product, the easiest thing to do is send all your boxes and packing materials out with your empties, as they normally return the night of show closing and will be readily available the following day. However, 9/10 times this is never the case, and most companies need to breakdown the night of the show and get on a plane to head home that evening. In this case, you’ve got two options. If you have a booth big enough to have storage, a great thing to do is simply break down the boxes and keep them there so they are immediately available after the show. Just make sure you pack tape guns! If you don’t have enough room in storage, we suggest using Access Storage, which is a service offered by most General Contractors, and which RGo is happy to arrange for you. This service allows you to place special stickers on skids with your boxes which will tell the freight handlers to bring them back to your exhibit first after the close of the show. It usually still takes an hour or two, but it still gets there first and guarantees you will be able to pack up that night. Lastly, you can always trust RGo to pack up your product with care should you need our help.
Shipping Product Out
As usual, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions to determine the right steps here. First, as always, is value consideration to determine the security considerations needed. Next, how fast do you need your product back? Most convention centers have a FedEx or UPS facility nearby or even onsite. The easiest thing to do, and best thing to do if you need your product back immediately, is to bring your product there and ship right after the show, assuming of course that it is feasible to do this based on the quantity of boxes. If you have a lot of product, this may not make sense from a physical standpoint, but also the costs may be tremendous. Many of our clients go to FedEx or UPS and get the shipping labels to affix to the packaged product boxes, but have RGo send the skids of product back to our facility and call the shipper for a special pickup. This works well when there are a lot of product boxes, and you have some flexibility on the ship date. If you have a lot of time to receive the product back, and you have a lot of product, consider asking RGo for a bulk freight quote, which could save you a lot of cost vs. traditional shippers.
And there you have it! Some great product shipping/handling advice from RGo Productions. If you have any questions on the above, or want to dive into these areas more thoroughly, please give us a call. We love giving advice and are happy to help!