Virtual furniture trade fairs have been heavily boosted by the current situation of a global pandemic. Now, it’s recommended that we avoid big gatherings, practice social distancing and avoid closed spaces.
Both of these modes of presenting furniture have their advantages and drawbacks. In this article, we will be looking at some of their differences and list features of each of these trade fair types.
When we say organizing, we are talking about all those pre-activities necessary to successfully present furniture. If we are talking about a traditional furniture trade fair, we need to find a space that’s large enough to host furniture pieces or lease and existing trade fair space.
Space rental costs on classic furniture trade fairs can be extremely high. They are charged per square meter, and you certainly need more space when you’re presenting various larger samples of furniture.
Then, you need to pick the best of the best when it comes to your furniture pieces, because you are limited by space. You need to perfectly pack and transport those pieces of furniture to the venue. The transport of furniture pieces is a costly aspect, regardless of whether you’re transporting it yourself or renting it. Also, organizing your presence at classic furniture trade shows take up a lot of time, from installing and decorating your booth to uninstalling it when you’re done and repacking for the transport back to your storage spaces.
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Also, you need to hire a number of staff members who will personally present those pieces of furniture to all interested visitors. This severely increases the cost of organizing a presence at a trade show because of the costs of travel, accommodation, food and per diem payments for your staff members. Also, classic furniture trade fairs imply a production of a large quantity of promo materials. You hand these out to visitors, but you do not have measureable feedback about their ROI.
On the other hand, organization and transport is much easier and budget-friendly at virtual furniture trade fair shows. You just need to find media or web space where you can present your furniture. Of course, you won’t need to do any packing or transport, nor hire staff to present the samples.
What we need in a virtual setting is a well-developed virtual presentation space which transfers the experience of a classic fair. Also, it’s recommended to use interactive communication and engage with visitors in order to get the feeling of live participation (fair tickets, suggestion and comment surveys, mini-quizzed, thank you notes…)
Also, every traditional trade fair has its working hours, while a virtual furniture trade show is available 24/7. In a classic furniture trade fair, visitors usually make one round, while as for the virtual variant, it’s possible to visit it an unlimited number of times. Most virtual furniture fairs are mobile-responsive, which means you can access it from any device.
In the first section, we already touched upon the fact that there is a space limit for furniture presentation in traditional trade fair shows. If you want to present furniture for several different rooms on a classic furniture fair, you have to somehow divide that offer and make it more attractive. This, in turn, will demand more space and increase your costs.
Next to that, you should also think about presenting various materials, colors and combinations. For a classic furniture trade show, this is a complex activity that has to take into account different consumer interests and trends.
In this regard too, a virtual furniture trade fair can simplify a lot of things. You just need a good web designer who can encapsulate your ideas in a visual form. The virtual visitors will then browse around rooms and collections on their own, choose their own color and material combinations. To improve their experience, you should include as many types of video content, 3D animations, virtual walkthroughs, organize live webinars, virtual conferences, live chat options…
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This is, perhaps, the only aspect in which you can find direct advantages of a traditional furniture trade fair compared to a virtual one. Furniture is something that consumer rarely change. Many have trouble visualizing isolated pieces in their own space. Ultimately, they want real physical contact with the material it’s made of.
Bigger furniture retailers solve the visualization issue by offering apps that can “insert” furniture into your existing space before you actually buy it for the first time. At classic furniture fairs, it seems visitors enjoy walking around and talking to staff members. However, in our fast-paced day and age, there are few of us who have enough time for these strolls.
Regardless of a big expense, for many people, picking out new furniture is an enjoyable and fun activity. That is why you should describe your products extra well when you’re presenting on a virtual furniture fair, offer as many different combinations and emphasize all the advantages of your furniture.
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Virtual furniture trade fairs are the future of presenting and marketing furniture because of the opportunity to efficiently measure results. With online contact forms and entries to the virtual fair, conference or webinar, it will be easy to fill up and store our database of potential customers. By organizing virtual conferences, we can cooperate with stakeholders from all over the world.
In a virtual furniture trade fair, it’s very easy to measure the number of visits to the website. Also, these numbers are always singificantly higher than in any other classic furniture show.
Finally, we can safely say that furniture is a type of product that certainly demands a lot of effort from sellers. That is why furniture trade fair shows play a big role in the marketing and sales process.
General trends in furniture sales definitely skew towards virtual trade fair shows. This enables easier organization and caters to busy customers. Of course, traditional fairs can still achieve great sales results if approached in a smart way. However, virtual furniture trade fairs will have a higher engagement rate, boost lead generation, while sales results will be more easily measured.