Vendors Appreciate Virtual Trade Shows, Despite Shortcomings

Despite having negative experiences and adjusting to newness of using virtual technology for trade shows, vendors still believe that virtual trade and dealer shows are worthwhile, says a survey by the Canadian Hardware & Housewares Manufacturers Association (CHHMA). The survey of 57 vendors (manufacturers and sales agencies) from the Canadian hardware and housewares industry shows the top issue with virtual trade/dealer shows was poor attendance (57.1 per cent), followed by lack of interaction/engagement with dealers/customers (39.3 per cent), and ineffective use of time and resources/poor ROI (19.6 per cent). Vendors also cited low order volume, high costs, and poor data and tracking ability. Roughly 60 per cent of vendors believe that virtual trade/dealer shows have a use in the future, despite their negative experiences thus far. Many say that in-person shows should not be replaced, but added as a hybrid event with a virtual platform to allow more in-store staff to attend and also provide an option to people who can’t travel. Another suggestion for those that offer two shows a year is to offer one live and one online. The consensus is that virtual shows are a valuable and effective medium to reach a wide variety of customers, but hosts will need to work out some kinks and shortcomings. They do believe that shows can be improved. Suggestions on how to do so include improving interaction with dealers/customers through video chat/presentations; improving notification/identity of visitors to the booth plus tracking metrics/info on dealer visits to booths; increasing dealer participation/booth visits; reducing participation costs; and incorporating easier to use trade show software/platforms.