Trade shows have always been an essential part of many businesses. Made for the benefit of both buyers and sellers, the organization of trade shows was in jeopardy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ‘new normal’ soon was extended to the realm of trade shows, and B2B buyers and sellers both managed to continue towards their business vision. Understanding everything about trade shows is important for taking full advantage of them.
To understand everything about a virtual trade show, one first needs to understand what a virtual trade show means. Following is a list of everything you need to know about virtual trade shows:
The Difference between Online and Physical Trade Shows
Like a typical trade show where sellers display their services offered and their product range, an online trade show works on the same principle. The purpose of a trade show is to make the buyer acquainted with the seller directly without any middle management.
Online trade shows make the concept of a physical trade show virtual. Instead of walking from booth to booth, buyers now can virtually see the seller’s wares and contact them if they are interested in buying. Instead of a physical booth, many online trade shows aim to provide their buyers an experience as close as possible to the real thing.
Many online trade shows give the user the experience of real walkthroughs as they explore the different products and services offered. Another way to do this is to give sellers time slots to give presentations of their products one by one to potential buyers who watch the live feed and contact the seller if interested.
There was some initial apprehension regarding the personal touch and whether networking would be a problem. All worries were soon dispelled because sellers realized that they have the opportunity to reach more people. And it was confirmed as buyers from all around the world can be involved in an online trade show which is not always the case with in-person trade shows.
2. There are unforeseen benefits.
Online trade shows benefit both B2B sellers and buyers in different ways.
For B2B Sellers
B2B Sellers benefit from online trade shows because it is cost-effective for them. They do not have to worry about transportation, booking a booth, and paying a hefty participation fee. Rather than waiting for the buyer to come to them, an online trade show gives sellers a better chance to display their products and services to all buyers, expanding their market and attracting potential customers, which would not have been possible in person.
Along with this, there is no cost of printing out cards and pamphlets to hand out to interested parties. Sellers can share the link to their website or their inquiry forms which is a more effective way of letting the buyers get acquainted with their business. Sellers can also track and analyze the response they got after their presentation. They can track the traffic (through resources like Google Analytics) to their website after sharing the link.
For B2B Buyers
It is cost-effective for buyers too as they do not have to buy plane tickets to reach a faraway destination where the trade show is located. It also saves time as buyers can jump from seller to seller depending upon their interests and requirements. They neither have to walk until their feet hurt nor wait in line to see something.
If an attendee is accessing the online trade show through their laptop or desktop, they can easily take notes on their phones or any other device or even on a notepad. The contact information can be copy-pasted, or a screenshot can be taken for future reference. Buyers do not have to wait for the seller to be free to talk to them. They can directly go to the seller’s website or fill out an inquiry form.
3. There is Variety
There are many different types of online trade shows. Many small business owners recognize the significance of online trade shows, and many different types of virtual trade shows are popping up.
- Property shows
- Raw materials and resources show
- Property shows
- Technology shows
- Niche product shows
- Food and beverage shows
- Car shows
With the advent of technology, sellers are not shying away from presenting their products and services virtually. Any and all products can be displayed virtually, which is helping with business in these uncertain times.
4. Strategy and Planning will Go a Long Way
Sellers might be saving money, but they still need to compete with many rivals for the attention of a buyer who would not hesitate before switching to someone else if they lose interest. For online trade shows, sellers need to keep the following things in mind:
- Content Preparation: Focus on how you are presenting your product. Whether it is a video or a live demonstration, ensure that the presentation is crisp and attention-grabbing. Include testimonials in your presentation to foster trust. Rehearse beforehand to eliminate any room for error.
- Target your Buyer: Presenting your product will be successful if you present something which distinguishes you from your competition. If you have a new tailor-made product, the time to introduce it to the market is now.
- Respond and Follow-Up: You will get responses if you share a link to your inquiry form. Make sure you respond promptly and respond to all the queries of the potential buyer. Also, make a plan to collect emails of interested parties so that you can send follow-up emails and build a customer base.
The experience of an event is different online and in person. Rather than the usual excitement of booking a place through a 20×20 booth rental and then preparing everything in a rush for showtime, virtual events make things more concentrated. Online trade shows save money and time but also increase competition. It might require a little more planning to build interpersonal relationships through an online event. Still, if you acquaint yourself with technology and give time to planning your presentation, online trade shows are the best way to reach new buyers from all around the globe.