4 Ways Wholesalers Can Get Great ROI with Virtual Trade Shows
The Ultimate Guide to Marketing for Wholesalers
The Essential Guide to Virtual Trade Shows for Wholesalers
If your wholesale business has traditionally relied on trade shows as your primary sales channel, you may have wondered at the start of 2020 what the future held for in-person events. Well, wonder no more! Virtual trade shows are the new norm.
Conducted and hosted online, virtual events allow exhibitors and visitors to connect through the web rather than in-person. They offer many benefits — not the least of which is huge cost savings — and there are many different types of virtual trade shows your wholesale business can choose from.
Although in-person events will no doubt return once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, many experts agree that the future of trade shows is likely a hybrid model that incorporates both live, in-person and interactive online components. Here is what Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman, the world’s leading live event and brand experience company, said recently on Trade Show News Network:
“We have invested in virtual platforms, understanding their value and long-assuming that hybrid events would become a critical part of enhancing any size event portfolio. Moving forward, trade shows will thrive by focusing on the live experience, making it easier for the right people to connect in person, while expanding to virtual audiences.”
Let’s take a look at four ways you can make the most of exhibiting at a virtual trade show.
1. Get listed in the show’s directory
Just like with traditional in-person events, trade show organisers offer a directory of all virtual booths in their show listing the exhibitors and their product categories.
A trade show directory typically shows your company name, a short description, and your contact information, such as email and phone number. It may also include a general overview of the products your wholesale business offers.
Here is an example of a trade show directory from the Cedia Expo Virtual.
2. Publish your PDF product catalog
Many virtual trade shows give you the option of presenting your PDF product catalog to approved buyers. In many cases, you can also decide how public or private your catalog will be as well as which buyers can see it on the show’s platform.
Here is a good example of this from the SURF EXPO CONNECT virtual trade show, which prominently displays their exhibitors’ product catalogs.
3. Connect with buyers through the show’s online marketplace
Some virtual trade shows focus on creating an online marketplace that lists the exhibiting companies and displays their product catalogs. These online marketplaces also present buyers with an opportunity to contact sellers to arrange a virtual appointment or request a quote.
Online marketplaces are often private invite-only, but we did find a few with public marketplaces so you can get a feel for what they look like and how they operate.
Here are a few examples from Fruit Logistica, a fresh product wholesale and logistics virtual marketplace.
At Fruit Logistica, approved buyers can browse your company profile and products based on search filters as shown below.
And when they visit your marketplace page, buyers can see all of your product catalogs and individual products, as well as arrange a meeting with you, as shown below.
Still other trade show organisers aim for a more B2B eCommerce-focused online marketplace, as shown below with the Omnia Health Marketplace, a global directory of medical products and suppliers.
At the Omnia Health Marketplace, approved buyers can search products and suppliers, and then start making connections by requesting information through a user interface that is much like a wholesale ordering portal, as shown below.
4. Schedule 1:1 video calls or webinars
“81% of trade show attendees have buying authority, according to CEIR.”
People attending trade shows are often quite influential within their companies, making finding opportunities to engage and connect with them a vital component to trade show success.
Because people are not physically together in the same space in an online event, many virtual trade shows offer a suite of engagement tools to ensure maximum interaction between you and your buyers as well as increase the potential for conversion. These tools include live chat, 1:1 video calls and webinars. For example, buyers at the Toy Fair Everywhere virtual show are able to schedule meetings and arrange video calls with exhibitors through the show’s online platform.