For many small businesses — especially those that rely on word-of-mouth and personal relationships to thrive — there is truly nothing better than a trade show to boost sales and connect with customers (both old and new!). And now, more than ever, technology is playing a big role in just how successful your trade show will be, and that includes mobile apps!

Phone apps can be incredibly helpful while you’re on the trade show floor, whether you need a quick way to process payments or an easy social networking app to meet up with colleagues, there is something out there for every trade show exhibitor. Here are our top 5 apps to try for your next trade show.

Square

Most people don’t carry much cash on them anymore, especially when they’re traveling to a different city. So if you’re selling products or services on the show floor, it’s a good idea to be prepared to accept payments via credit card. Square is one of the best (and most popular) apps out there for mobile credit card processing. The Square Point of Sale contactless chip reader connects wirelessly, letting you accept NFC transactions and EMV chip cards, or you can use the magstripe reader that comes in the Square box for old-fashioned swiping.

The reader is compatible with iPhone and Android devices and works with a companion app that lets you manage merchandise, customers, and personnel. The app charges you 2.75% per swipe, with no monthly or setup fees.

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CamCard

One of the most-used lead capture tools on the market right now, CamCard is designed to take advantage of the one universal lead that everyone at a trade show carries around in their pockets: business cards! CamCard contains a number of tools and features that make it incredibly valuable as a lead collection and lead capture app, including:

  • The ability to quickly capture and enter business cards in CamCard’s database using your phone’s camera
  • E-cards that you can exchange with new people so you can go paperless
  • Smart management lets you manage all of your business cards in one place
  • Cloud storage, meaning you can access your cards from anywhere

This is a great tool for those exhibitors who rely heavily on networking and meeting potential new leads.

Expensify

Attending a trade show is an expense above and beyond your regular business, as it includes travel, documents, marketing materials, and booth setup – not to mention client meals and lodging for you and your staff! Expensify helps you gather and track all your show expense reports, mileage, and time (which is incredibly handy when it comes to tax season).

You can use the built-in SmartScan to take pictures of receipts, annotate entries with additional information, and link the app to a credit card to match expenditures with specific items. For larger companies, it also handles automatic credit card reconciliations, manages company cards, and integrates with various accounting and HR software packages. You can download the app for free, but a monthly subscription costs $4.99.

iPrizeWheel

As we’ve talked about in previous blogs, giveaways are a great way to generate interest and leads at your booth during a trade show – and a major part of those giveaways is the old standard, the prize wheel. Luckily, the days of wasting money on a bulky, physical prize wheel are over! With the iPrizeWheel app, you can get all the fun and excitement of a trade show giveaway game for a fraction of the cost – and without the hassles of transport, drayage, and setup.

Sold via iTunes for $9.99, iPrizeWheel features realistic sound effects and spinning motion.

QuickTapSurvey

If you’re looking for an efficient way to collect data from current or potential clients, look no further than QuickTapSurvey. You can use the app online or offline on your iPad or phone to generate leads, get feedback, and create forms for conducting online research.

In addition to conducting surveys in real time at trade shows or events, QuickTapSurvey lets you customize and brand your surveys, categorize questions by type, capture signatures, pull reports and analytics, and export leads to Salesforce, Infusionsoft, Mailchimp, and SurveyMonkey. The basic version is $16 a month.

For more trade show tips, check out our other blogs; or browse our Services to see how we can help you make the most out of your trade shows!