With no end to the coronavirus pandemic in sight, trade show organizers continue to digitally remake their events.

With 73% of trade show organizers canceling at least one show as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, up from 62% in April, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, more trade show operators are moving their events online.

We’re going to be able to reach many more people at a much lower cost.
Missy Livingston, CEO
Twisted Wares

Two trade show organizers, Faire and Micam Milano, recently announced digital events for late August and mid-September.

The Faire Summer Market, which is scheduled August 26-27 on Faire.com, is Faire’s first online trade show. The event will host nearly 100,000 retailers on the Faire marketplace and will feature site-wide promotional specials.

Micam Milano, an international footwear trade show, will run a digital show from Sept. 15 to Nov. 15, in addition to its physical show scheduled September 20-23. Micam Milano says it expects its digital show to attract 20% of the exhibitors of its physical show and more than 20,000 buyers. The digital show will run on the NuOrder ecommerce platform, which has a network of 2,000 premium brands and 500,000 retailers.

Looking for a jump into the fourth quarter

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Both events are expected to give wholesalers and retailers a boost heading into the fourth quarter, both companies say. The Faire Summer Market will include several digital tools, such as livestreaming, to help retailers plan and purchase more efficiently from more than 25 independent designers and brands. Brand categories include apparel, accessories, homewares, and products for pets and kids.

Brands will be able to use livestreaming to showcase their latest merchandise, demo products, highlight new colors and textures in more detail, share merchandising ideas, and answer live questions from retailers viewing the stream.

Brands livestreaming their merchandise include TeaDrops, S’well, Twisted Wares, 1818 Farms, and Larissa Loden Jewelry. A full schedule of the Faire Summer Market livestreaming program will be released in early August, Faire says. The company also plans to livestream more brands later in the year.

Mining online data on customer demand

MissyLivingston_TwistedWares

Missy Livingston, CEO, Twisted Wares

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“Trade shows are really about people being able to experience your brand. With livestreaming, we’re going to be able to reach many more people at a much lower cost,” says Missy Livingston, founder and CEO of Twisted Wares.

Another digital tool available to retailers will be data-informed shopping, which will feature information from across the Faire platform about best sellers among consumers in different categories and markets. In addition, retailers offering Square POS for purchase transactions can integrate their own data to identify performance around their own bestsellers, which can help them buy more of what their customers love, Faire says.

Brands will also be able to run online promotions to attract new retailers as well as entice existing customers to purchase. One promotional offer option is combined promotions, such as 5% off, plus free shipping. The other promotional offer option is a tiered promotion that rewards retailers who buy more with bigger savings, such as 5% off orders valued at $200, 10% off orders over $400, etc. To encourage brands to offer its promotional offer options, Faire says it will reduce its commission by figuring it on the promotional price, as opposed to the list price.

“We understand that the cost of running a promotion can be steep and make it difficult for independent brands to compete,” Faire says in a blog post on its website. “In our ongoing effort to level the playing field for our customers, we have made an improvement to our commission policy. Moving forward, all commissions on promotions will be applied to the discounted price rather than the original price.”

Going for the one-to-one experience

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Brands offering promotions can be featured across the Faire Summer Market event page by setting up a show special for August 26-27.  Thousands of brands across several categories, including NaturalAnnie Essentials, Pals Socks, Happy Spritz, and Walker Noble Studios, have already set up exclusive promotions on their merchandise for the two-day event, Faire says.

“Faire has shown us that they’re really committed to supporting our business, so when the opportunity presented itself, it was never a question of whether we were going to participate in Faire Summer Market,” says Courtenay Schick, wholesale and customer service lead at TeaDrops. “It’s a much smaller investment because we’re able to do it from home, and create more of a one-to-one experience.”

Faire Summer Market will be promoted on Faire.com, and across Faire’s content channels.

Retailers can participate in the Faire Summer Market for free. Vendors can participate by setting up a promotion, but there is no up-front cost for brands to become part of the Fair Summer Market, Faire says.

“This event is critical at a time when trade shows are being canceled due to Covid-19 and stores are left scrambling for alternatives for holiday buying,” says Faire co-founder and chief technology officer Marcelo Cortes.

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Brands and buyers in a virtual showroom

One goal of Micam Milano’s virtual trade show is the acceleration of its digital B2B channels to help suppliers acquire more customers worldwide and manage their customers more efficiently, whether at a physical show or the virtual version, the company says.

“The Micam Milano Digital Show was created to integrate the physical [show],” says Micam Milano President Siro Badon. “With this new B2B platform, we will be able to support online the selling process, allowing buyers to prepare for the show, and to continue their business relationships even when the physical event is over. At a time like this, when we have few certainties, Micam has a key role to play in getting business started again and permitting international expansion of the enterprises that have always participated in the event.”

Buyers and brands at the digital show will be able to connect through a virtual showroom with digital catalogs, line sheets, and ordering functionality through the NuOrder platform. Brands will be able to upload catalogs, data and imagery using a drag and drop interface. NuOrder will offer training and support to vendors in both English and Italian.

There will be no limitations on the number of SKUs each exhibitor may display in their NuOrder portal during the show, NuOrder says.

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Immediate deliveries and pre-orders

HeathWells-NuOrder

Heath Wells, CEO, NuOrder

“Given current conditions, we expect there to be high interest in product for immediate delivery, as well as pre-order product,” says Heath Wells, co-founder and co-CEO of NuOrder.

Micam has developed pricing for vendors starting at 1,800 euros (US$ 2114.00) with incentive packages for association members and non-members. There is no cost for retailers to attend the show.

To enhance the buyer experience, there will be connections between the physical Micam show and the digital show, with “specific content and curation added to the digital platform” to supplement the show experience, the company says.

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“The digital show will enhance the physical experience and buyers will be immersed in the trade event,” says Badon. “What happens in the physical trade show will be augmented in the digital show (webinars, trends and materials forecast, educational contents). There will be a detailed selection of products, curated contents, editorials, suggestions and trends.”

Additional details about show content will be released in the coming weeks, Wells adds.

The show is being marketed through multiple digital channels, including social media and email, as well as print advertising. Micam Milano has also organized two webinars to present its platform to brands. The webinars are scheduled for Aug. 4 and 6. Plans are also in the works to promote the show to retailers.

Overall, Micam says its goal is to have two physical events per year with a digital presence 365 days of the year.

NuOrder’s partnership with Micam Milano builds on its partnership from earlier this year with Informa Group, which will run its first virtual trade show Sept. 1 to – Oct. 31. Informa operates and creates content for more than 450 international B2B events and brands in markets including Fashion & Apparel, Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, Infrastructure, Construction & Real Estate, Hospitality, Food & Beverage, and Health & Nutrition. Informa’s branded shows include Magic, Coterie, Project and Project Women’s.

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Peter Lucas is a Highland Park, Illinois-based freelance journalist covering business and technology.  

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