Use an iPad at Your Trade Show Booth to Engage Consumers

Have you walked into your favorite retail store, restaurant, or mall recently only to see a shiny new iPad staring back at you? Businesses around the world are starting to realize the many benefits putting an iPad in their store offers. iPad, along with other tablets, are revolutionizing so many different industries, and it appears that businesses are beginning to take notice. With the coming trend of using an iPad at a physical location to engage consumers taking shape, why not take this idea one step further?

Do you attend trade shows or industry conferences? Perhaps you even shell out the big bucks to rent booth space at these events? If so, then you know that most of the time the reason for spending the big bucks on booth space at these events is to capture attention for your products and services, as well as, to generate leads. What better way to capture attention than to set up an iPad Kiosk at your trade shoot booth.

What is an iPad Kiosk?

An iPad Kiosk is simply an iPad contained within some sort of iPad enclosure or iPad stand. iPad Kiosks are designed to allow people to secure an iPad in a public location so that consumers can interact with the iPad as they are passing by. When using an iPad in a public location, your store, a trade show booth, etc. it is important to know that your iPad is not at any risk of theft. The three types of iPad Kiosks that you see most often used at Trade Shows are:

  • iPad Kiosk Floor Stands
  • iPad Kiosk Tabletop Stands
  • iPad Wall Mounts

Floor stands allow for the most flexibility as they can be placed anywhere, while still offering security for the iPad owner and easy access for consumers. iPad Kiosk floor stands usually range in price from $300 – $600 depending on the type of stand you want to use. Floor Stands are usually the most expensive iPad Kiosk option, but they are also the most versatile. When using an iPad at a trade show, it’s important that you don’t take up your table space with an tabletop iPad Kiosk. Having a floor stand positioned next to your table will be much more convenient for both you and your booth visitors.

Tabletop iPad Kiosks are another great option. They can usually be purchased for a little less than the floor stands. The price range for a quality Tabletop iPad Kiosk is between $200 – $400. Although a tabletop iPad kiosk will take up some table space at your booth, it’s still a much better alternative than using an unsecured iPad at your trade show booth.

iPad Wall Mounts are your best option in terms of not needing a lot of space. That said, not all trade shows offer wall space for you to use. Except for your high-end trade shows, you normally only see an iPad mounted to a wall in a store, sports arena, college and university, or really any permanent location. We don’t recommend using an iPad Wall Mount for most trade shows. That said, if you’re in the market for a quality iPad Wall Mount you should budget around $200 – $400.

Benefits of Using an iPad at My Trade Show Booth

instantShift - Using an iPad at Trade Show Booth

There are so many benefits of using an iPad at your trade show booth. Here are some of the top benefits that most people receive when using an iPad to engage trade show visitors at their booth:

  • Increased interest and traffic at your booth – Everyone is drawn to iPads. People that see an iPad in a place where they are not used to seeing one will usually take the time to check it out. That’s exactly what you want when you attend a trade show, people to take a minute to stop by your trade show booth. This is what iPad delivers over and over again.
  • More time spent at your trade show booth – Once the iPad has lured people to your trade show booth, usually those folks stick around your booth a little longer than they would a booth without an iPad. This provides you with an opportunity to share information with those folks about your products, services, company, and industry.
  • Increased engagement in your company – People who take time to stop by your booth, and then spend some extra time while there, are also more engaged in what you have to say then those folks who simply pass by, say hello to be polite, grab your free tchotchke and leave. Having an iPad at your booth provides you with an opportunity to talk to someone who is actually listening to you and wants to learn more about such an innovative company.
  • Ability to convert booth traffic into online connections – As we will discuss a little later in this article, there are apps out there that allow you to collect email addresses right on you iPad. Say goodbye to that pad of paper that you used to use to collect email addresses. Now you can collect email addresses on your iPad right there at your booth. You don’t even need an internet connection to do it!
  • Opportunity to show educational content about your products, services, company, and industry – Do you have YouTube videos detailing your products or services? How about a website? Maybe you have product specs saved as PDF files. Any of these pieces of content can be served up on the iPad for your trade show booth visitors to read or watch.

The list above provides a snapshot of just a few of the top benefits that using an iPad at your trade show booth provides. Depending on how you use the iPad, which apps you run, and how many people show up, there are a lot more benefits that you’ll enjoy.

How to Set Up an iPad at My Trade Show Booth

So now that you’ve read through all of the benefits of using an iPad at your trade show booth, let’s take some time to explain how you can actually put this theory into practice. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think. Follow the steps below and you will have an iPad up and running at your next trade show.

  1. Determine how you want to use the iPad at your trade show booth. This is the most important step as once you determine how you want to use the iPad, you can then go about securing the proper components to make your plan work. Take some time, figure out what your goals for the trade show are, and then think about how using an iPad can help you achieve those goals. Do a little research. See what apps are out there. Read some articles to see how other companies are using iPads at trade shows. Once you have your plan in place, then you can move on to executing on that plan.
  2. Buy an iPad or figure out which one (or many) you’re going to use.
  3. Find out if there will be wireless internet at the trade show and also determine if you will have access to a power supply based on where your trade show booth is located.
  4. Purchase your iPad Kiosk. Depending on how your booth is setup up, how much space you have, and where your power supply is located, we recommend that you either purchase a iPad floor stand or a tabletop iPad kiosk. These two types of iPad Kiosks work best for trade shows.
  5. Download any apps you need or get any content that you want to display on the iPad ready. Review everything prior to the trade show so that there are no surprises when you get there.
  6. Go into your Settings app, tap the General tab, and set “Autolock” to never. This will ensure that your iPad doesn’t go into sleep mode during the trade show. The last thing that you want is for people to pass by your iPad Kiosk and the screen is blank. Whatever content you want to display, be sure that it’s on the screen at all times.

If you follow these steps you should be able to have an iPad Kiosk set up at your trade show booth in no time. Not only that, but you can feel confident that your iPad will function as you envisioned it.

iPad Apps to Use at Trade Shows

Although more and more companies and individuals are using iPads to engage consumers at trade shows, in retail stores, at restaurants, and so on, the list of available apps to use for this purpose is still quite small. That said, I think we are on the verge of an explosion in these types of iPad apps. It’s only a matter of time before iPad app developers realize just how big a market this can be. For now, below is a list of some fo the best iPads to use at your trade show.

OnSpot Social

Collect Facebook Likes, Add Twitter Followers, and Collect Customer Email Addresses from Anywhere.

instantShift - OnSpot Social

OnSpot Social is an iPad application that allows business owners to grow their social media community, as well as, collect email addresses for their email marketing list from a physical location. Simply set up an iPad Kiosk at your trade show booth, purchase a 1 week subscription from OnSpot Social, and convert trade show visitors into online connections.

One of the main goals for all trade show exhibitors is to collect leads. Usually this is done by having booth visitors write their email address down on a piece of paper. After the trade show someone then has to decipher each person’s handwriting and input each email address into the computer. With OnSpot Social this is all done for you. Booth visitors put their name and email address into your iPad, after the show you can log into and download a list of all of the email addresses you’ve collected. No more losing email addresses because you can’t read the person’s handwriting and now more wasting time retyping the information into your system.


Turn Your iPad into a Digital Billboard.

instantShift - KioskPro

KioskPro allows you to turn your iPad into a Digital Billboard, run a photo slide show, or even display your website easily to your trade show booth visitors. Depending on what content you want to show on our iPad, KioskPro might make a lot of sense for your next Trade Show. If you want to show pictures of your products, show customer testimonials, or even your website, KioskPro allows you to set up a slide show or digital billboard to accomplish this task. Booth traffic can then interact with your iPad Kiosk right there at your booth.


Play Product or Service Videos for Trade Show Booth Visitors.

instantShift - YouTube

If you don’t want to pay to download an iPad app like OnSpot Social or KioskPro, you can always use YouTube to play videos for booth visitors. Simply open up the YouTube app on your iPad, navigate to your YouTube Channel or even to a specific video, and leave it up for people to play. This allows you to educate your trade show both visitors without you having to say a word. You can then be there to support the video by answering any questions that booth visitors might have after watching your videos on YouTube. One thing to note if you use the YouTube app, be sure to reset the video back to the beginning after each person, or group of people, is finished watching.


These are 3 of a number of iPad apps out there that you can leverage for your next trade show. Again, the list of apps is still small, but give it 6 months to a year and I think there are going to be plenty more hitting the app store.

Use iPad at a Trade Show

Now that you’ve finished reading the article, what do you think? Do you believe using an iPad at your trade show booth can help you better achieve your goals? Have you ever used an iPad at a trade show before? What were your results? Please leave a comment below as we’d love to hear what you think.

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  1. This is a fantastic article.

  2. Just the Apple logo is enough to show the business profile of your company. It gives a high appeal to consumer and drags their attentions towards us. I personally have experienced this and feel proud to own a macbook.

    • Yes, using Apple products for your business does draw the crowd in! I wish they will produce their own unique Apple kiosks though!

  3. Just supported the F1 Grand Prix held in Singapore. The kiosks, together with the iPads, were used to introduce a local app as well as an app which featured Q & A about the F1. It was able to handle a high number of traffic, and a great interactive experience for users! Excellent way to provide information to tourists and event attendees. Some attendees even left behind their pretty photos with the camera app!

  4. Ryan,

    Good points all.
    If collecting customer or lead information at trade shows is important to your business, you may want to check out the iCapture app. to load onto your iPad. Collect 40% more emails or mobile numbers with this simple solution that does not require an internet connection to capture. And with integrations with email programs like Constant Contact and Mail Chimp, iCapture is a huge time saver as well. Sorry about the shameless self promotion but we’re helping hundreds of exhibitors and retailers connect with thousands of potential customers everyday. No more fish bowls or clipboards!


    Ed Vining

  5. Nice read Ryan. Will definitely consider some of these at my next event. I would add QuickTapLead to your list of apps though. QuickTapLead allows exhibitors at trade shows, exhibitions and events to qualify leads and capture lead details easily using their own mobile tablet. QuickTapLead takes minutes to set up, works without an Internet connection, can be used as a kiosk and sends lead data automatically to Salesforce!

  6. We use the SignUp Kiosk App. We love it!

  7. Couldn’t agree more. Okay, perhaps I am biased…as we make an elegant, eye-catching, streamlined family of iPad kiosks, displays, and stand for the trade show and other commercial markets.
    Trade show exhibitors: how can we make our product more friendly for your needs?

    Laura Steuer
    Marketing Mgr

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