5 Creative and Innovative Merchandise for Expos

Expos and trade shows are great ways to network with existing and potential clients, media people, and anyone interested in or relevant to your specific industry. They’re also excellent events to launch a new product or take note of what the competition is up to. To get the most out of any expo, you should consider having promotional products or creative merchandise to sell or give away.

Promotional products, according to Simon Kay, the Senior Account Director at Geiger, are a “marketing must” for any exhibition, as they help a business stand out and provide subtle ways to build a positive connection with a potential client and further improve the relationship with an existing one.

The beautiful part about this is that you are not limited to traditional merchandise such as umbrellas or ballpens. Creative and innovative merchandise for expos can now range from customized neoprene sleeves to personalized event wristbands to Slap Koozie® can coolers with your company logo. To help you decide on what to give away for your next trade event, here are five items that you can consider.

1. Can Coolers

Foam koozies (can coolers) are great promotional gifts because they are practical, lightweight, and easy on the budget. They are also easy to order in bulk, allowing small businesses to give these items out to a large number of expo goers while not breaking the bank. Can coolers can also be customized to any size or color and be embossed with your company logo.

Further, a can cooler is a very practical item that most people can use in their everyday life. Because they are useful and functional, there is a higher chance that people will use any can cooler they’ve received for free. This is a great way to build consumer awareness as potential clients get to see your logo daily, which has the added benefit of higher brand visibility.

2. Regenerated Leather Notebooks

This is perfect for small businesses catering to creatives. Writers, graphic designers, musicians, and the like typically write their ideas down in a journal. By providing a high-quality regenerated notebook to write in, you are not only creating goodwill among your target market, but you are also helping the environment through recycling.

Depending on your supplier, regenerated leather notebooks can be customized to have your company logo and made with your company colors. You can also choose to have a notebook with straps for an added elegant touch.

3. Water Bottle

Promotional water bottles are great for larger marketing expos or outdoor festivals. Though they can be somewhat expensive to supply, especially if you want a water bottle with several high-tech features like thermal insulation or a collapsible design as well as customization, they may provide a faster ROI as there is a higher chance of people using your product and remembering your brand.

Water bottles are typically recommended for special events, such as charity runs or sporting events. This is because they serve a dual purpose of promoting your brand and being useful throughout the day itself.

4. Face Masks

According to Glass Magazine, face masks are the number one promotional item to give out during a trade show or expo. While some may think that masks would only be popular until 2022, the magazine suggests face masks will still continue to be popular in the foreseeable future.

Because of their popularity, it’s easier now to find a supplier who can produce masks in bulk. Keep in mind though that to maintain their usefulness, masks shouldn’t be customized too much. At best, you can have the mask have a small print of your logo.

5. Luggage Cover

In a study conducted by Allianz Partners, researchers estimate that American travel to Europe rose 600 percent from 2021 to 2022, and this trend is expected to continue in the next few years. It is not limited to the United States, either. Many airlines, including Delta Air Lines, have noted that more people than ever are booking flights around the world. Scientists have labeled this phenomenon as “revenge travel,” where people are making up for lost travel time during the pandemic.

You can capitalize on this trend by offering custom luggage covers. Depending on how you want your cover to look, and any other features it may have, these items can range from moderately priced to a little high-end. It’s recommended that if you decide on luggage covers, you buy them in bulk to get the best deal with your supplier. Regardless, custom luggage covers are creative ideas to consider, especially if your business caters to the travel sector.


The American Marketing Association says that promotional products, especially merchandise given during expos, significantly improve brand recognition and strengthen customer loyalty. The items that you give out can help existing and new customers remember your brand, and, if the item is of high quality, provide a positive experience to your client base. It’s also a less expensive but more effective option compared to giving out business cards. This is why selecting the right one is crucial to the continued success of your business.