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E-Commerce Will Replace Trade Shows in 2020

If you run a wholesale business, then you know trade show season is among us. The spring brings many international and local trade shows in just about every industry. You may even have your booth already paid for. But with the shift in our wholesale terrain, the landscape is dominated by e-commerce. B2b tools online are geared towards specific challenges wholesalers, manufacturers, and retailers experience. E-commerce addresses more obstacles than trade shows can nowadays. 

There are many reasons why online tools are far more helpful to wholesalers looking to source new products and grow. Trade shows are simply outdated. These traditional b2b industry events no longer hold the prominence they once had when wholesale was in its infancy. Yet many wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers, and distributors continue to attend. Wholesalers have other options when it comes to product sourcing and b2b networking. Let’s explore the main components of digital tools that directly help the b2b community.   

Online Catalogs Are More Effective Than Trade Shows

When you attend trade events each business presents the new products they have to offer for the year. There are a few problems with this approach already. If you’re a wholesaler sourcing new products, then you want to see all of your options before making a wholesale buying-decision. Trade shows limit the amount of products you are exposed to. Not only is this not fair to you as a buyer, but it’s not fair to the sellers. You don’t get a chance to see their entire catalog. Maybe there are other products that fit your needs better. The information is not there for you to make a completely informed decision.

The alternative to this is an online digital catalog. E-commerce provides a comprehensive solution to the limiting product data at trade shows. A b2b platform or an e-commerce platform both provide wholesale businesses with the opportunity to display each product in full for their customers. This is a huge advantage for a wholesale company looking to source new products. Any information they need is fully visible online.  

The other positive thing about online product catalogs is that it provides transparency between the customer and your brand. Each product page online is an opportunity to answer any questions the customer may have about the item. Product descriptions, pricing options, availability, details and images are all features you can include on these product pages. The more information about your unique products you offer, the more helpful it is for your potential wholesale customers. This is the type of information that is essentially non-existent at trade shows. At trade shows, people are too worried about making business connections, rather than showcasing products in full. This is a hindrance for wholesale businesses looking to grow their inventory. 

Trade Shows Aren’t Worth the Hassle In the Digital Age 

Wholesale businesses are already presented with many challenges when it comes to customer service and selling products. At this point, with the shift of e-commerce towards the business to business industry, wholesalers need solutions not more problems. Unfortunately, trade shows don’t have a place in the world of b2b e-commerce anymore. Bridging these challenges, with better business solutions, within networking is essential to the success of any industry. The example of e-commerce becoming the new standard has opened up a global dialogue within the wholesale industry. 

The trade show environment hasn’t adapted to the digital age. Therefore, with each aspect, trade shows provide more hassles and more headaches for business owners. Time management nuisances and financial burdens caused by trade shows are avoidable. You just don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on trade shows anymore. The travel expenses alone are ridiculous when you consider the alternatives. 

The digital tools for wholesalers provide the same amount of results, even better, than attending trade shows. So when you think about the hassle, is going to a trade show really worth it? The answer is a resounding no. Your computer is actually cheaper than attending a trade event. Wholesalers still find themselves attending these events because of a long standing tradition in the b2b industry. 

With employee expenses, printing expenses, and costs for the event itself, you are losing a great deal of money and time that can be spent doing more profitable marketing. While the networking and exposure is great, there are more effective marketing strategies that will increase your online visibility. 

Start By Saying No To Trade Shows

How can wholesalers adapt to the digital age? Well, the real solution is to stop attending these costly trade events. The b2b industry needs a shift, or refocus, of marketing and networking efforts. Everything is online now. If you truly want to connect with your customers and find new ones fast, then you need to start online. Build your wholesale brand online in as many ways as you can. Discover what your goals are as a wholesaler. This is a unique opportunity for businesses to rebrand or simply promote brand awareness in an effective way. Trade shows don’t have the same effectiveness they used to have before the prominence of the internet.   

The problems from trade shows are numerous. We all know the major costs of trade shows both financially and physically. Trade shows have been happening for decades and anyone who is a business owner attends. It’s difficult for a business to completely change their approach to wholesale marketing and networking. It’s something you have to reevaluate and consider the effects it will have on your business operations. These changes take time and research into b2b trends. But all of this change is great for the wholesale industry. Wholesalers are learning how to run their businesses more efficiently. This major shift also requires an acknowledgement of all of the obstacles certain outdated methods provide. 

Let’s Look at The Problems With Trade Shows

The number one obstacle wholesalers face with trade shows is that the costs are just too high. There are quite a few costs you must budget for as a business attending a trade show. The necessary expenses include stand space, stand design, attendance, and accommodations for staff. The amount of time spent on scheduling and planning for exhibiting at the trade event is another hindrance to consider. This is time that would be better spent on building customer relationships and focusing on making quality products. 

Competition at trade shows is also very high. Your competitors will be there exhibiting at the same trade show. This in turn requires more effort and creativity to get the attention of potential buyers. It can be tough to differentiate your business with the limited space. Wholesale sales results are also not guaranteed. There isn’t even a guarantee that you will get any leads from having an exhibit. Even with the large investment of time and money it’s not worth the hassle. 

Low turnout is an overlooked issue at trade events. Without the sponsorship or backing of a big name, the turnout has the potential to be very low. This is why as a store owner or business leader you cannot afford to spend extra time and money on an event that has no guarantee of profitable results. 

Online Marketing and E-Commerce

At the same time, evolution is happening in the wholesale industry. Shops and stores are evolving with the advancements of the digital age. Wholesale businesses are spending more of their efforts on e-commerce and online marketing. With this evolution comes a weeding-out of the competition. The strongest businesses end up surviving, while the others close up shop. We’ve seen this happen with more than a few brick and mortar retail stores, because they weren’t able to adapt with the changes from e-commerce. 

More importantly, it’s essential to not fall behind the competition. If you’re going to cut costs, cut out the unnecessary expenses for trade shows and industry events. Most businesses tend to cut costs with marketing, but marketing is more important now than ever. Digital marketing is where you will see the biggest results in sales growth. For a wholesale marketing strategy to be successful, there must be a significant amount of focus on e-commerce and digital strategies. 

Effective Solutions For Wholesalers

How can wholesalers address these obstacles? Put the idea of trade shows on the back burner for a moment. E-commerce platforms are out there for businesses in the b2b industry to take advantage of. The digital tools available online exist to help wholesalers run their businesses more efficiently. By switching your money and time towards digital solutions, you can save money and see more results. Everyone is online these days. That includes every wholesale business. The connections you need are there for you to make. You just need the right tools. 

As we mentioned earlier, online product catalogs are a huge advantage. If there’s one crucial thing you need, it’s your products online. Not only will this increase sales, but it will help with customer interactions. The second thing you need to consider is social media. 

Social Media and Inventory Management

Having a social media presence online is essential for wholesalers, manufacturers, and retailers. The b2b industry is built on business connections. More and more businesses are flocking to social media to promote their wholesale brand, provide better customer service, and display their products. It is an absolute must for b2b brands to have a strong social media presence. This is one of the most effective ways to reach your target customers. Establishing your wholesale brand identity on social media is the best replacement for trade show networking.  

Inventory management systems are another overlooked, but essential solution for wholesalers. Most of the obstacles that occur in the b2b industry happen because of inventory problems. If you solve these inventory problems, then your sales will increase and your customer service will improve too. The way you tackle these challenges is by finding your wholesale business an inventory management system that does multiple things. First, you should be able to track your products, whether they are in the warehouse, being shipped, or delivered. Second, you should be able to communicate with your customers about products. Online tools are there to help with these connections. Integrate your products with an effective inventory management system and you won’t need to go to trade shows ever again. 

In Conclusion

A lack of communication is the point at which all businesses seem to struggle. The right solutions for your companies specific needs are tough to pinpoint. As soon as you understand where your weak points are, you can learn how to effectively nurture them. There will continue to be a learning curve as we begin to understand how e-commerce is changing the way we shop.

It’s important to have the right tools to solve these challenges as your business expands. With the right digital tools, your wholesale brand will see more success. Focusing on improving communication between partners and consumers is the most direct way to see success in this industry. 

E-commerce tools have earned their place as solutions for wholesalers in the digital age. Trade shows are quickly becoming a thing of the past. So if you’re attending trade shows this season, you might want to consider the alternatives. The cons of trade shows are too hefty to ignore. The cost alone for trade shows is better spent on b2b marketing and developing your wholesale products. Research and consider which benefits are better for your business. With clear goals in mind, your wholesale business will scale in no time at all.  

SeeBiz’s Networking Platform

We want your business to grow successfully. Network to your full potential by taking advantage of all of the features of SeeBiz. SeeBiz’s b2b platform is the online tool you need to succeed as a wholesaler. As the digital marketplace expands and changes, you can manage your products and network more efficiently. The SeeBiz platform will continue to grow as your business grows. 

Learn more about how SeeBiz can help your business networking and replace trade shows here: https://www.seebiz.com/

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