The trade show season is cancelled. This is hardly a surprise: trade shows all over the world have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and many national and international events have been called off or postponed. With little certainty as to what the future will bring, waiting for things to just go back to what they were is increasingly seen as an impractical option. This is why we have focused on organising virtual trade shows and recently presented our new platform “Hypersmarter”. Today we will take a look at what it means to organise a virtual trade show and what we can expect from such an event.
What is the purpose of organising virtual trade shows?
First of all, we need to get a clearer idea of what virtual trade shows are. Everything starts, as it always does, from the needs of companies and professionals in a specific industry. Whatever the field of work may be, all enterprises need to connect to different operators, interact with one another, display their products, and promote their services. In this sense, it is important to understand that the organisation of virtual trade shows is not meant to replace traditional events entirely but to support and complete them. Their purpose is to provide event planners with additional tools, allowing them to make the best use of the available resources and to achieve their goals.
How do virtual trade shows work?
Virtual trade shows allow you to bring together buyers and sellers in an immersive, entirely digital, and highly interactive environment. Each user can move around the virtual space using their customisable avatar and access the exhibition areas, viewing products, and organising private or group meetings. The advantages are endless, both in the presence and absence of a traditional event to support the virtual one. For instance, the organisation of virtual trade shows in the mechanical industry, where at least some of the exhibitors are manufacturers of large machinery, allows participants to save considerable amounts of money in terms of transport, logistics, insurance, and maintenance, without sacrificing the quality and interactive experience of their booth. This is but one instance of the kind of trade show for which some exhibitors tend to prefer the virtual option to the real one, regardless of the restrictions imposed for collective security.
What are the benefits of a virtual trade show?
There are two aspects of virtual trade shows that have won over most industry professionals, even the initially sceptical ones: traceability and data management. Of course, data is also acquired and kept during traditional events: anything involving a registration will at least provide you with an interesting email database. It is also possible to prompt feedback after an event in the form of a questionnaire or a suggestion box and try to determine what features of the event were successful and what to improve in future editions. This type of data, however, can never be considered entirely accurate and should always be taken with some degree of approximation. In the context of a virtual trade show, however, it is possible to have exact evaluations of the use of each individual feature and to intervene promptly to solve problems and smooth out processes. This makes it possible to create increasingly rewarding and effective experiences for users, with undeniable advantages for both the organisers and the companies participating in the event.
How do exhibitors get involved in a virtual trade show?
The main obstacle to overcome is, as in everything, our innate distrust of anything new, particularly when it comes to business. Those who are used to moving around in traditional trade shows – and perhaps have been doing so for years – may be doubtful about conducting business on a digital platform. The most important thing is to communicate in a direct and accessible way, offering potential exhibitors and visitors a package of clear information that allows them to get a reliable idea of the experience of a virtual trade show. The advantages will have to be explained in detail and all access procedures to the virtual spaces will have to be made as simple as possible.