Virtual events of all kinds are on the rise. In fact, in 2020, 67% of businesses reported using virtual events in addition to in-person events.
Virtual trade shows are one specific type of virtual event that can help your business adapt, stay relevant, and generate new leads. These events are growing rapidly in number and popularity. Take it from us, you won’t want to miss out on this innovative way to promote and grow your business in the virtual era!
We are so excited about the rapid development of virtual trade shows and put together this guide to introduce you to the world of virtual trade shows and what they’re all about. If you’re interested to dive into the virtual trade show circuit, an experienced trade show company like Exhibits Northwest can help you develop the perfect virtual exhibit or experience to ensure you stand out and succeed.
What is a Virtual Trade Show?
Put simply, a virtual trade show is a kind of virtual event run in an online environment. Like an in-person trade show, a virtual trade show is hosted online for a limited time. Exhibitors create virtual exhibits or experiences and use forms of online communication to connect with trade show visitors or participants online. Overall, a virtual trade show exhibit is a unique and captivating way of interacting with potential customers or displaying your products or services in an online environment.
Two of the most popular ways of creating virtual exhibits for online trade shows include:
- A virtual trade show exhibit created with virtual rendering technology. Rendered trade show experiences are a popular choice because they can be created anytime and it’s easy to make changes on the fly.
- A virtual tour using photos taken of a real exhibit. These are a great way to recreate and/or repurpose a successful in-person event.
With virtual technology changing and improving every day, there are now more innovative ways to participate in virtual trade shows than ever before. Partnering with a company that has experience creating virtual exhibits is the best way to ensure you succeed at your first virtual trade show.
Benefits of Virtual Trade Shows
Participating in virtual trade shows can help your business grow and succeed in the following ways and more:
Unmatched Flexibility: Being ready to participate in virtual events will help your business adapt and succeed, even when things don’t go according to plan. For example, when the COVID-19 crisis hit, the majority of in-person trade shows were canceled, and many were replaced with virtual trade shows.
Connect Worldwide: Going virtual allows you to engage with potential customers anywhere, anytime. This could expand your reach and introduce you to new national or international markets.
Go Big: Without limitations on booth size or setup, you can go as big as you want with your exhibit and make a memorable impact.
Generate Leads: Virtual events are known to bring more attendees and more qualified leads. For example, research shows that 20-40% of online webinar attendees turn into qualified leads.
Create a Sales Pipeline: Virtual events can easily incorporate ways for participants to take action online immediately. With just a quick click of a button, participants can purchase products, visit your website, request a free quote, sign up for your newsletter, or follow any number of other calls to action.
Long Term Use: Virtual trade shows themselves often go on for longer than a typical in-person show. Also, a majority of virtual events are made available on-demand once they end. Furthermore, unlike traditional trade shows, your virtual exhibit will live on long after the curtain closes and can be used for other shows or promotional purposes.
Cost-Effective: You can save a ton of money with virtual trade shows in comparison to in-person events. You will cut costs on travel, lodging, promotional items, and other expenses typically associated with attending in-person trade shows.
Data & Analytics: Online, there are many ways to track and analyze the reach and engagement of your activities. With virtual trade shows, there are lots of opportunities to learn about your potential clients and leads, and what they are looking for.
Virtual Trade Show Software and Uses
For a virtual show or exhibit, the software you use is a key consideration. Below are some of the most popular virtual trade show software and their uses:
Rendering: Virtual rendering, or image synthesis, uses software to generate a photorealistic or nonphotorealistic image or video from a 2D or 3D model. Some popular rendering software programs include Blender, Keyshot, 3Ds Max, Modo, and many more.
Virtual Tours: For virtual tours, some of the highest-rated software are Fusion by RTV, CloudPano, Kuula, and others. Often used in the real estate industry, this kind of software typically uses photos of a real place or exhibit to create a life-like virtual tour.
Virtual Event Hosting: Platforms like INXPO, vFairs, 6Connex, Hexafair, and more are used to host the actual trade show event online. You’ll find that some incorporate more features and ways to interact with attendees than others.
If you’re overwhelmed by your options or the technical aspects of participating in a virtual trade show, we’re here to help!
Virtual Reality Trade Show Components and Features
For years, trade show exhibits have been incorporating virtual reality or augmented reality demos in order to engage attendees in new and exciting ways. Some virtual trade shows are starting to use virtual reality technologies to do the same thing online at virtual events. With VR technology, there is so much room for creativity; take the viewer on a journey that tells the story of your business or let them explore a giant showroom of your products… the options are endless!
Virtual trade shows offer a wide range of features that include:
- Hosting on Client Webserver or Offline/Downloadable file
- Integrated Live Chat (Linked to Client Account, ex. LiveChat, etc.)
- Integrated Meetings (Linked to Client Account, ex. GotoWebinar, etc.)
- Interactive Games (Example source: www.marketjs.com)
- Lead Capturing with Integrations to CRM (ex. Salesforce, etc.)
- Google Analytics Tracking (Linked to Client Account)
- Prize Drawings
- Live Guided Tours
- Custom Recorded Voice Overs
- Oculus, Vive, Gear VR capable
Looking for Virtual Trade Show Companies?
Our experienced team at Exhibits Northwest can help you develop an immersive, engaging virtual trade show exhibit that will help you adapt along with the industry and stand out from your competition. First, we start by having a conversation that will help us begin to understand your goals and brand identity. Next, we design and build a custom virtual exhibit that meets your needs and budget. Lastly, we deliver all the files, information, and instructions you need to make your virtual exhibit experience come to life!
To learn more or get started, contact us today!