Do you remember attending trade shows? I have some nice memories of these events. Alas, they are no longer with us. Trade shows exist so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products and services. People went to network and connect with partners and clients and better understand market trends. Others went because they were in interesting locations and usually came with some good food and free t-shirts.

In an era where more people Work From Home, trade shows will likely become less common. But the value that a trade show provided will still remain important, arguably even more so in a world where people seek valuable connections. Due to COVID-19, it will be difficult to resume big trade shows. That said, trade shows play a vital role in helping companies launch products, increase their networks, and perform lead generation.

Given the importance of people remaining socially isolated or physically distant, we don’t see trade shows in their current format remaining popular. What alternatives will emerge? At wfhadviser.com we do research to empower you with business critical insights. And one insight we wanted to share is that there are emerging companies and technologies to help you and your firm attend online trade shows.

The world is being transformed by people who build and add value to their firms. Online virtual trade shows will help empower these people. There are two types of online meetings you will want to be aware of. You should look for these in your industry so that you register for the most relevant ones.

1. Online event management

2. Online event platform

Firstly, online event management has a few key characteristics:

  • Their services revolve around attendance, process registrations, and analytics.
  • There are many large legacy tech companies in event space doing online event management as they integrate their offerings with readily available online conference tools.
  • In many cases, their service offering overlaps with pure online event platforms.
  • Additionally, companies in this vertical are not limited to online events, they monetize from both online and offline events. Their verticals and offerings are not limited to conferences, trade shows, etc.

Online event platform-as-a-vertical can be split into two as the offering for different events are specific.

  1. Companies providing solutions for online exhibition/trade show/recruitment fair. This category of events are usually on a larger scale and cost more to organize. Most startups tackling this field have solutions based around recreating a 3D virtual open space exhibition.  This solution closely matches solutions provided by tech startups which provides VR retail experience, such as InContext Solution and Marxent.
  2. Startups providing solutions for online conferences, networking events, seminars, product launches, meetings. This field is broad, as most companies are simply offering video conferencing service with additional overlay. There have been many legacy companies in this field. Such as Adobe Connect, Gotowebinar, GlobalMeet, Workcast.

There are no dominant players in this field and the market is extremely fragmented even with legacy players providing solutions for online events. When Working From Home you might see more advertisements to attend virtual events or your firm might task you with selecting a tool to help your company increase its online trade show presence. Virtual trade shows will help you keep a light foot print. Hopefully this article helped introduce you to the space and showed you some relevant tools you can consider and leverage to excel in this new future of work.