Digital tools were already becoming an integral part of the wholesale business, but the global pandemic truly sped things along. And while some trade shows have resumed face to face, many events are continuing the digital approach through virtual or hybrid shows. To be clear, in-person shows aren’t going anywhere. Rather, virtual trade shows are productive and cost-effective alternatives to live shows at times when remote interactions would be more appropriate; they’re also highly-beneficial and complementary tools to live shows.
Virtual trade shows have become commonplace due to the current climate. But did you know selling and marketing wholesale goods online offers exceptional advantages for everyone involved? The right software can help you increase your trade show ROI, improve relationships with buyers and reduce errors and expenses. It can also add speed, efficiency and an extra layer of professionalism to your in-person appointments.
Read on to learn more about how trade show software works and why the industry’s top trade events trust NuORDER to host their shows – from Latin American Fashion Summit (LAFS) and New York Fashion Week to Milan Fashion Week, MICAM Milano and more.
What Is Trade Show Software?
Trade show software is a digital platform that serves as a companion or alternative to in-person trade events. Exhibitors present their products via branded portals, virtual showrooms and digital tools in lieu of traditional trade show booths and in-person presentations. Software makes it possible to participate in a show via desktop or mobile device.
How Does It Work?
The best trade show software will support you for both virtual trade shows and hybrid events (a combination of in-person and virtual activities). Even if an event is entirely in person, you can still use trade show software for support – many features (digital notes, realtime order drafts, digital linesheets, shoppable videos…) can improve the in-person sales experience too.
Make it a team effort. Work with your marketing, merchandising, sales and eCommerce teams to make the most of your virtual presentations. This will ensure your trade show strategy aligns with your goals, and that your virtual presence is consistent with your B2C website and brand. Next, personalize the experience for specific buyers. Can you combine data and personal knowledge to offer custom assortments for specific stores? Buyers respond positively to custom offerings because it shows you understand their customers and respect their time. Choose trade show software that includes such features as customizable digital linesheets, custom lists and a whiteboard tool for realtime merchandising sessions over video conference calls with buyers.
How Can Trade Show Software Help Your Brand?
Trade show software creates the environment for digital trade shows, such as the NuORDER Marketplace. For example, NuORDER Marketplace is a digital hub for discovering and connecting with retailers, presenting and selling collections and even accessing relevant industry information, just as you would at an in-person show.
The best trade show software gives you the freedom to network, market and sell seamlessly. It should be intuitive and add rather than take away from any in-person experiences.
Top Features to Look for:
- Customizable virtual showrooms: Immerse buyers and journalists into the world of your brand. Display collections and share key product information and marketing materials as you would in your brick-and-mortar showroom.
- Customizable homepage portals: Give a great first impression with featured designs, color palettes, inspiration, dynamic videos and more, all in the spirit of your brand.
- Engaging images and videos: Share detailed, shoppable images and videos, 360 images and more.
- Press and social media functionality: Share press clippings, campaign images and videos, company news and even a preview of your Instagram feed.
- Digital notes and real-time order drafts: Take detailed, secure notes to share later and allow buyers to do the same. Create order drafts in real-time to help buyers visualize their intended buys before finalizing their purchases after the show.
The Benefits of Virtual and Hybrid Trade Shows
While there are benefits to meeting face-to-face, virtual and hybrid events present a unique set of advantages.
Additional Exposure: Enjoy 24/7 exposure throughout the duration of the show– buyers in other time zones can view your collections at their leisure. The virtual element also makes it feasible for more attendees to catch these events. Finally, virtual and hybrid events tend to run for much longer, operating for up to several weeks at a time.
Reduced Costs: Decrease expenses and boost your trade show ROI. Virtual trade shows allow you to reinvest or reallocate funds that would otherwise be spent on expensive trade show booth buildouts, in-person activations and team members’ travel costs and expenses.
Streamlined Payments: The best trade show software simplifies and streamlines payments for buyers while offering more ways to pay. Get paid faster while helping buyers save time and check out securely.
Productive Social Distancing: Go virtual to safely continue networking, marketing and selling, regardless of external conditions. Trade show software helped retailers and brands maintain “business as usual” during the global pandemic.
Improved Carbon Footprint: Lead the way in commercial eco-responsibility. Virtual trade events reduce your annual travel requirements, while trade show software can reduce or eliminate paper waste and printing.
Trade Show Tips: How to Host an Effective Virtual Appointment
- Buyers are strapped for time. Plan each appointment to maximize your time accordingly, whether that’s creating personalized assortments or looking at past data to be able to discuss potential opportunities in your latest collections.
- Share materials prior to the appointment. Send a link to your virtual showroom and share linesheets, catalogs, lookbooks and other essential material.
- Take digital notes during the appointment; share them with each buyer at the end of their appointments.
- Use a whiteboard tool to help buyers visualize their planned buys.
Find out how trade show software can improve your wholesale process:
NuORDER is a B2B eCommerce platform and marketplace, connecting retailers and brands and streamlining the wholesale process for virtual, hybrid and in-person market appointments. The NuORDER platform offers a seamless and collaborative way to do business with interactive and customizable solutions, easy payments, real-time inventory insights, comprehensive data and more for increasingly informed buying decisions.