What is a virtual trade show?
The cancellation of in-person gatherings in 2020 triggered a swift transition to digital events across industries. In retail, the concept of a virtual trade show was introduced as a powerful alternative to traditional wholesale markets. A virtual trade show is an online buying event where retailers can browse thousands of wholesale brands, purchase products to stock their retail stores, and tune into insightful talks led by industry-leading speakers. Additional features including interactive livestreams, on-demand video content, and flexible payment terms enable retailers to seamlessly buy online from their favorite brands while discovering new lines.
Why are virtual trade shows preferred for wholesale?
Over 50% of retailers told us they won’t attend in-person trade shows this year. Consequently, virtual trade shows have become an important addition to Faire’s online wholesale marketplace. Buyers can attend seasonal online trade shows to get access to competitive discounts, trend insights, and speaker programming—then restock from the Faire marketplace whenever, wherever.
We’ve been inspired by the retail community’s ability to adapt to this new way of buying and selling over the past year. We expect to see the digital trade show format evolve even further and remain an important facet of the wholesale industry. Online trade shows will continue to offer independent retailers a flexible and affordable way of stocking their stores.
Read on to discover all the ways that virtual trade shows benefit your business, and why this manner of buying will shape the future of wholesale.
1. Fewer overhead costs
In-person trade shows can be expensive. The cost of travel and accommodation when attending trade shows contribute to the overhead of your retail business. Instead, use the budget that’s typically earmarked for travel on stocking your shelves with the products your customers will love.
It’s free for retailers to create an account with Faire, and it’s also free to register for any of our virtual trade show events. Skip the travel and shop from home.
2. More buying, less hassle
On top of the cost, traveling to trade shows on a seasonal basis to stock up on merchandise can be a hassle and take you away from the important day-to-day operations of your business. With virtual trade show platforms, all you need is an internet connection to do your buying. You can do your wholesale buying anytime, anywhere.
With Faire, paying for your orders is flexible and easy, too. Choose to take advantage of net 60 payment terms or pay on shipment.
3. The best deals and discounts
Brands also save money when choosing the online trade show experience. This means they have larger margins when they offer seasonal specials. Promotions like discounts and free shipping are offered by thousands of brands at virtual trade shows.
For example, at this year’s Faire Winter Market, Faire committed to matching discounts offered by brands during the event, up to 10%. This means Faire brands can offer deeper discounts to retailers at no additional cost.
4. Innovative insights and programming
With online trade shows, you can attend sessions with industry leaders, trend forecasters, and merchandising experts—without having to leave your shop or home.
At this year’s Faire Winter Market, the speaker lineup will consist of industry experts as well as featured brands who will speak to their products and areas of expertise. For example, Jonathan Grahm, founder of artisan chocolatier Compartes, will host a live session from his brand’s chocolate factory. Kristen Pumphrey and Tom Neuberger, founders of P.F. Candle Co. will present an educational talk about fragrance called The Vocabulary of Scent.
Plus, Gretchen Kroll from Tripar International will share how design principles can inform merchandising and display strategy. Molly Wilson of molly&you will share marketing tactics from her journey from store owner to brand creator to showroom maven. Wendy Armington of Knock Knock will lead a lighthearted tarot card reading, plus we’ll hear from featured brands Itzy Ritzy, Lost + Wander, and Sadie & Sage.
5. Safe, distanced buying
Safety will always be a top priority for the retail community. Many retailers and brands are taking heightened precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, which means staying home is the safer option. Virtual trade shows allow brands and retailers to connect from a safe distance. Video tools provide retailers the opportunity to view firsthand how products look and work if they can’t see them in person. These tools will continue to redefine how businesses can connect with customers.
At this year’s Faire Winter Market, on-demand video is available to all brands so they can produce content that helps retailers make decisions about buying. Watch videos directly from brands’ shop pages to better understand their products.
6. Data-driven product discovery
At virtual trade shows, you can browse thousands of brands at your leisure online. Discovering new products is simple, and powered by smart, easy-to-use technology. Search for products using a variety of criteria and values—eco-friendly, made in the USA, and handmade, to name a few—to find your next best seller.
Faire’s powerful data-driven algorithm surfaces products based on known best sellers as well as your personal preferences as a retailer. The products recommendations you receive are tailored based on what you browse and buy on Faire, ensuring you a custom experience.
7. Intuitive planning tools
Digital tools help retailers easily plan their buying for virtual trade shows.
With Faire, retailers can follow brands to stay up to date on new merchandise and promotions. You can save your favorite products to boards to help you visualize your merchandising before buying.
8. Automatic point-of-sale syncing
Before buying at a virtual trade show, you can integrate your Square or Shopify point-of-sale (POS) account to help you save time and keep track of useful data.
Faire automatically creates item listings in your POS for you when a new order arrives. You don’t have to add new listings or update your inventory each time you order. This way, you can spend less time organizing, and more time selling.
9. Seamless relationship management
Forget about keeping track of business cards.
You can easily contact a brand on Faire if you have questions about products, or if you need to follow up about an order. Plus, you can reference all of your orders and download invoices from the same portal online.
10. Seasonal and year-round purchasing
Many virtual trade show platforms also offer marketplace shopping year-round.
Faire is the industry-leading platform that offers both seasonal online trade shows and 24/7 wholesale buying. Discover how Faire can change the way you buy wholesale.
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