When you think of a trade show, what comes to mind?
Probably packed out venues, filled with vendors, and people interested in their wares. In past years, trade shows were golden opportunities for companies to get word of their brand out to the general public.
Yet, in 2020, most public events came to a screeching halt. As the coronavirus first took root, trade shows–once a key part of a company’s livelihood–became possible spreaders of the deadly disease.
Because of this, many of them had to be canceled. This caused many businesses to lose drastic amounts of money.
Now, with the economy reeling and no definitive end to the virus in sight, people are beginning to wonder about the future of trade shows.
What will become of them? What will stay the same, and what will change?
Keep reading to learn more.
Virtual Trade Shows
Some trade shows have gone virtual.
For many companies, which have lost money as the economy spirals, pushing forward with trade shows is a must.
However, companies must balance their need to recuperate some of their funds with their responsibility to keep their employees and clients safe. In-person trade shows can draw large crowds.
As such, they drastically increase the chances of company employees contracting and/or spreading the virus.
Many companies have sought to balance their need for funds and their responsibility toward mankind as a whole by participating in virtual trade shows.
Virtual trade shows are being held online, and attendees can still shop as they would at an in-person show.
How Much Longer Will Virtual Trade Shows Last?
Of course, it’s difficult to say for absolute certain.
Some industries may elect to hold trade shows virtually for a while longer, even after reopening. Yet, there has been a strong push for more stores and events to open their doors to crowds.
As a result, it is not unthinkable to see a gradual and hesitant return to in-person shows. It might take a while to make people comfortable being around others, impacting the usefulness of in-person shows.
There’s also the possibility that trade shows will reopen, possibly with limited capacity and/or social distancing measures in place. But just how many companies will attend them is uncertain.
Because of this, we can likely expect trade shows to waffle between online and physical locations for the next few months.
Should coronavirus cases spike again, new restrictions on gatherings could be put into place as well. Likewise, if cases go down, more events are likely to take place.
Who Will Attend In-Person Trade Shows?
In the debate of whether or not to hold more in-person trade shows, most organizers have one big question.
Who is likely to attend? Do the benefits of having physical trade show displays outweigh the risks?
Unfortunately, the companies most likely to attend trade shows might be the ones who feel they have no other choice.
Due to the nature of our current economy, many companies whose services have been deemed “non-essential” have suffered.
In particular, independent specialty stores have taken a hit. They might feel as if they have to attend trade shows in order to boost their sales.
At the same time, though, they might not be able to afford it.
How Many People Will Be There?
In many places, there are still restrictions on how many people can get together in one place.
Especially in the United States, different locales have imposed different measures to keep the general public safe. Because of this, trade show locations will need to implement safety measures.
Trade shows might also need to limit the number of people who attend the shows. This can come about in two different ways. If the locality still has restrictions, the show will have to limit the number of people. The event organizers might also make restrictions.
Of course, this could impact the effectiveness of trade shows. Fewer people means fewer companies that are able to attend. So, trade show organizers need to balance the need for trade shows with the fact that fewer companies will likely come.
What Future Aspects Can We Expect in a Trade Show?
If anything, technology will feature more prominently than ever in trade shows.
For as long as there is a pandemic, people will need to use technology to run the trade shows virtually. However, demonstrating the newest technology in a companies’ communicates to the attendees that the brand is modern and savvy.
And not all of the changes will be impersonal.
Rather, companies are expected to veer towards integrating marketing tactics to make the trade show experience more tailored to specific clients.
Currently, connecting to the consumer on a personal level is everything. People want to know how your products will alter their daily lives for the better. As a result, personalizing the marketing experience as much as possible is best.
So, when you attend a trade show in the future, expect companies to feature new technology and market to you as a person. They will do everything they can to tailor your experience with them to your preferences as much as possible.
Are You Curious About Trade Shows?
If you’re worried about the future of the trade show, you’re not alone.
Many people are wondering how trade shows will push forward during the pandemic. However, the organizers are resourceful and are adapting to the changing times.
Virtual trade shows are allowing companies to showcase themselves without risking exposure to the virus. The virtual aspect also makes consumers more comfortable, as they get to peruse a company without putting their health in jeopardy.
However, as time goes on, trade shows will eventually reopen, possibly with more restrictions and distancing measures.
Either way, we can expect trade shows to include more technology and become further personalized.
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