Mug next to laptop showing virtual meeting
May 15, 2020 News, Trade Shows

The Virtual Trade Show: How It’s Helping During COVID-19 and Why It Won’t Stick

2020 has been a strange year. After about two months of social distancing and lockdowns, people are starting to get restless for more human contact, especially with summer right around the corner. However, guidelines still remain in place to practice conscious social distancing and avoiding large crowds.

As a result, many exhibitors are worried about trade shows. If you’ve invested in trade booth materials and company swag, you may be concerned that you wasted your money. While the virtual tradeshow market is popping up left and right at the moment to take the place of large-scale in-person events, we’ll see the rise of the in-person trade show again; here’s why.

People Want to See Your Products

We touched on this back in February before the pandemic really started to take hold in our article about why trade show booths still matter in the age of the Internet. Sure, people can see your products over Zoom meetings and browse through your online catalog – but if they just wanted to do that, they never would’ve participated in trade shows in the first place.

People can’t touch your product or see the quality over video, making the experience a lackluster one. Customers and clients want the chance to interact with your products and see if what they’re buying matches what they have in their mind.

They want to discuss with you in person and get a feeling for who they’re doing business with, as well. For individuals in the trade show world, it’s all about building relationships and creating an experience.

A Virtual Tradeshow Is a Logistics Nightmare

The logistics of a tradeshow are a delicate web in the first place. When you add in the digital component, it becomes even more complicated. Suddenly you have to schedule Zoom meetings or Google Hangouts with dozens of people, hoping that neither party spends the first five to ten minutes having technical issues.

Additionally, the whole process may require more time if you have to send your product to a potential customer or client to view instead of being able to physically have them check it out at the trade show.

The Social Component is Critical

Most people don’t do their best business deals at a conference table. They close them over dinner at the end of the trade show when they can get to know people better and decide if the business deal makes sense. The human connection is incredibly important for both executives and sales teams.

While it is possible to connect via video conference, it simply isn’t the same. While there’s a good chance that over the next few years, certain components of virtual conferences will remain, in-person conferences will still be the norm.

How In-Person Conferences Will Make a Comeback

Once the pandemic worries have passed, people are naturally going to want to start spending more time with others and getting some travel in. Though there will likely continue to be social distancing rules at conferences for a while to ensure safety of attendees and vendors, people are going to get back out there. The virtual tradeshow environment won’t last forever.

In the meantime, if you have trade show booth materials that you need safely stored, AFP Global Logistics can help. We want to make sure that you can get up and running again as soon as it’s safe. For more information, give us a call at 1 (800) 274-1237 or contact us on the website.