What solutions do online B2B marketplaces provide for trade shows?

Zoé Kahn

Every year, thousands of trade shows and professional events around the world welcome visitors curious to discover the world of brands. As key players in the exchange of international products and services, trade shows pave the way to a new channel of communication.

An unexpected crisis

Before the Covid-19 global crisis, physical trade shows were a real success and enabled many companies to develop their business and improve their brand image.

Despite the cost of transport, accommodation, and the organization of such large events, companies do not hesitate to take the risk of traveling to seduce customers. It is a chance to approach potential buyers and build long-term loyalty with existing customers. A real tool in the marketing strategy of companies, it also allows them to discover competing products in the same sector of activity.

This is why the Covid-19 global health crisis accelerated the digitization of these physical trade shows. Indeed, faced with the multiple cancellations and postponements of professional events, some of them prefer to turn to new communication channels.

Modern alternatives that replace traditional booths

Many tradeshows organizers have integrated digital into their business and are now offering innovative alternatives. On the one hand, the first objective is to constantly adapt to all developments in the sector, on the other hand, it is important for trade show organizers to ensure the visibility of products to a wide market. Among these alternatives, there are B2B Marketplaces and Webinars, real growth drivers for e-commerce.

Classical stands at physical trade fairs are now being transformed into an online catalog, and online conferences allow customers to access the latest news from home.

Webinars allow trade shows organizers to maintain contact with customers by exchanging on the topics discussed during their presentation. With an average duration of 45 minutes to 1 hour, webinars generate new leads and increased activity by allowing participants to ask a question via a chat system. It allows trade shows organizers to save time and money and to have no geographical limits. As online registration is easier, the number of participants is likely to be multiplied several times compared to a physical exhibition.

A virtual exhibition edition for the Food Hotel Tech trade show

The Food Hotel Tech trade show has made the leap to digital after the postponement of its physical events to March 2021. Indeed, a B2B Marketplace, a type of "virtual exhibition" has been created while waiting for physical activities. The trade show of digital and technological innovations dedicated to the hotel and catering industry allows discovering on its Marketplace the solutions and contact details of its exhibitors. Clients can also consult several solidarities offers put in place by exhibitors to support professionals.

Last thoughts

Some go even further by developing more elaborate and personalized concepts. Some platforms offer VR experience, avatar creation, or digital business cards. B2B marketplaces and online conferences are a real solution for exhibition organizers facing the postponement and cancellation of events. However, a question arises. Is it more judicious to use these alternative innovations as a complementary solution or is it better to focus the whole marketing strategy on that? What is certain is that the future of e-platforms still has a long way to go.


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