Sumter County Economic Development exhibited at the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition in Fort Lauderdale this month. In addition to the vast and beautiful array of tropical plants, we learned new trends that are emerging in the industry. It was a great opportunity to meet businesses looking to expand or relocate and see a few of our existing businesses at the show, including Brantley Nurseries, J. Berry Farms, Way Green Nursery, and Time Definite Services. We also promoted the growers and nurseries in Sumter County via our  Ag Alliance site to the plant brokers and retail representatives that visited the booth. We highly recommend this show to businesses in the plant industry!

During the 2017 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) from January 18 – 20, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Hayk Khachatryan, an Assistant Professor at University of Florida in collaboration with the National Horticulture Foundation assessed the attractiveness of trade show booths to show attendees.  An experimental booth was set up on the trade show floor to inform attendees about the Consumer Behavior and Insights (CBI) Lab at the University of Florida’s Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, and research being conducted there.

The objectives of the study at the TPIE were as follows:

  1. To investigate trade show booth design elements (focal point, lighting, plant density, background, and product packaging).
  2. To determine the effect of overall trade show booth designs and plant presentation styles on attendees’ perceived firm reputation, perceived plant quality, and likelihood of visiting the booth.

Images of 17 TPIE booths were used to test different design elements using state-of-the-art eye-tracking equipment at the CBI Lab experimental booth.  Additionally, several attendees were asked to walk the trade show floor while wearing eye-tracking glasses to measure real-time visual attention during the show.  Results will inform green industry stakeholders about the impact of trade booth design elements on attendees’ visual attention to the booth, perceived firm reputation, perceived product quality, and likelihood of visiting the booth.  In turn, this has potential to impact business relationships, contract negotiations, and ultimately sales.

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