As a wholesale distributor, we know how invaluable trade shows can be in developing and nurturing meaningful relations with vendors and customers alike. But, these days, everyone is doing business a little bit differently. We've turned our kitchens into home offices. In-person meetings are now held in Zoom chat rooms.
We are all adjusting, and of course, it's temporary, but there are some things that you can't replace. The wholesale trade show experience is one of these things. The whole point of shelling out the cash to build an impressive booth or travel across the country to show up for a day or two is to meet face-to-face in real life.
So, what can we do in the meantime?
Our industry is known for getting creative in the face of adversity. Our largest trade show hosts are making moves to bring the experience directly to you with no risk.
In June, SSE (Smoke Shop Expo) decided to replace their late spring event with a cross-country Zoom meeting. Usually, SSE is held in hotel suites, and buyers and vendors schedule one-on-one meetings with distributors and wholesalers. The June show was a different experience altogether. However, it did provide an opportunity for buyers who would never have traveled to the show to participate, and it gave vendors a chance to catch up with colleagues and get down to business.
Last month, Champs Trade Shows hosted the very first virtual event. Instead of a Zoom meeting with one-on-one chat rooms, you actually walk around a virtual convention hall in the comfort of your home office, smoke shop, or wherever you typically do your work.
Remember the computer game, The Sims? It's kind of like that. Participants can log in and create their own customizable avatars, and vendors can design and build virtual booths. You walk around the entire convention hall to visit different booths, meet and greet, and even run into someone you know. Each avatar has a first name and shop/vendor name floating above them to see who you're talking to. Pretty cool, right?
Benefits of virtual trade shows
Nothing beats meeting in person to do business, but virtual trade shows have plenty of benefits.
- Save money and time on planning and travel.
- People who can't usually attend have a chance to participate.
- Experience the trade show from the comfort of your home, smoke shop, or workspace.
- Build new relations with vendors or customers without the chaos of a busy booth.
Overall, the first virtual Champs trade show was a success. And there are more to come! The next event will be held in September and is expected to be even more interactive and user-friendly. There are no other in-person events planned for this year, but it wouldn't be surprising if you see more events transition in the digital space. So, why not check out the virtual experience to get a taste of trade show life in 2020?
For more information about the next virtual Champs event or if you'd like to participate as a buyer, click here. We'll be there, too!