You’ll Attend Your Next Trade Show From Your Living Room—And Why That’s Great
Jun 17, 2020

Your business relies on trade shows to connect with new customers or find new products—but now shows are canceled because of stay-at-home orders. A new kind of trade show, the virtual trade show, is taking its place. Here’s how to make the most of them and boost your sales.


Businessman holding trade show badge

These new virtual trade shows offer even more opportunity, with fewer costs and distractions. GETTY

The Trade Show Advantage


The trade show has been at the heart of trade for decades, and we all know why: They are naturally exclusive—thanks to purpose-built venues with limited space, attendance fees, and curated supply and demand—and attract a discerning, purpose-driven community of buyers and sellers. Panels tend to be interesting, entertaining, and informative, and there are excellent opportunities for networking (not to mention, expense account-cocktails). In other words, trade shows bring together all of the necessary ingredients for dynamic commerce under one roof.


This impact is proven. In fact, 55% of U.S. small- and medium-size businesses describe trade shows as their most valuable source for new B2B customers, according to a recent survey of U.S.-based sellers. And 45% of small businesses describe them as the best way to encounter new ideas, learn about innovation, and find new suppliers. We hosted a recent conversation about trade shows, and two leaders of Florida-based supplements companies spoke to their importance. Daniel Rosenfield, Founder and CEO of Totally Products, said, “A very large portion of my business relies on trade shows. Trade shows got my business off the ground, and they’re still my success maker today.” Reiterating this point for his business, Diego Bavaro, Founder and CEO of Angry Supplements, emphasized, “Trade shows open businesses up to incredible opportunities both nationally and internationally. I met my biggest customer at a trade show.”


Deconstructing the Experience


All business operations ultimately come down to decisions about the allocation of capital and the return on investment of both money and time. As an entrepreneur, if you are able to allocate money and time well, growth and profits for your company are likely to follow. The gritty truth about trade shows is that while they are indisputably essential and valuable, they often come at an exceptional cost of both money and time, which is especially problematic as many businesses adapt to the new normal.