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What Exhibitors Want From

Trade Shows

When in-person trade shows paused during the pandemic, exhibitors were still getting leads through online channels. But online had limitations. The human connection and trust went missing. Now that shows are back, exhibitors expect the online-offline blended combo to deliver more ROI than they previously expected.


Exhibitors are recalibrating their expectations considering they have to shell out 4–10K for a booth. How do they make 10X returns?

Here are Eight New Qualities Exhibitors Expect from a tradeshow

1. Stupid Simple Set Up — At Venue and Online

As any exhibitor knows, setting up for a trade show can be daunting. There are always last-minute changes, and it can be difficult to find the right people to help with the work

Max Rhodes, the founder of Faire recounts how trade shows have become even more challenging in recent years which led him to start his online B2B marketplace. “Trade shows have unions that block exhibitors in so many ways,” he says. “I needed to call someone to change the lightbulb.”

Online set up also requires work to set up profiles and product collections. Both these processes have to be simple, preferably donefor exhibitors so they can just focus on selling their company andtheir products.


2. Pre Show Specials

Converting sales pre-show was never on an exhibitor’s radar because the means didn’t exist.


“With our online show portal Shoppe Online we could invite buyers to book orders after previewing new collections two weeks before the show,”

-says Minya Quirk, co-founder of Shoppe Object. We used email marketing to segment and target all our top buyers.

Before the show is opened to outsiders, VIP-only days during a show can be especially effective for high-powered audiences who are accustomed to getting first dibs at the latest collections.

By offering deals before the start of the show to an exclusive audience, exhibitors can tap new sales opportunities.

Pre-show specials can be a great way to build rapport with an audience and encourage them to spend more money.

3. Remote In-Person Attendance

For most attendees, seeing something in person — be it at an art fair, a gallery, or an auction preview — is a fun and important part of the buying experience.


“Sometimes buyers won’t be able to make the trip because of time constraints, travel restrictions or conflicting art fair dates,”

-says Walter.


Remote clienteling can close the gap between online and offline viewing experiences. By having someone on the ground and combining the logistical elements — calenders, appointments, video chat and consulting — remote clienteling provides buyers with a buy-from-home experience while retaining the richness of personal interaction.

4. Deep Leads Retrieval

Retrieving leads online and onsite allows exhibitors to save money. This is because they can avoid the costs associated with traditional lead retrieval methods, such as hiring staff to collect leads on their behalf.


There are many benefits to retrieving leads online and onsite.

Total number of Orders (including drafts)

And many more ways once the online and offline buying experience is tied together.

5. AI Driven Buyer Matchmaking

While some may be skeptical of the efficacy of AI-driven matchmaking, there is no denying that buyers have come to expect a certain level of convenience and customization when it comes to meeting with potential partners.

Trade shows provide the perfect opportunity to connect with a large number of qualified buyers in one place, but the process of finding and scheduling meetings with the right people can be time-consuming and frustrating.

AI-driven matchmaking can help to streamline the process by identifying buyer preferences and connecting them with sellers who offer products or services that meet their needs.

In addition, AI-driven matchmaking can help to identify potential conflicts of interest and schedule meetings accordingly. As trade shows become increasingly competitive, AI-driven matchmaking may become essential for those who want to make the most of their time and resources.

6. Connecting to Their CRM

If exhibitors don’t have a way to pull leads into your CRM, they’ll be conveniently forgotten. That’s why it’s important to have a CRM integration in place.

With easy CRM integration with a trade faor platform, you can score the leads as opportunities or leads to follow up and close. This way, exhibitors will never miss a potential customer again. Plus, you’ll be able to track your progress and see which tradeshow strategies are working best for your business. So if you’re looking to generate more leads and boost your sales, be sure to integrate your CRM with your tradeshow strategy.

7. Year-Round Marketing by Shows

The trade show is simply an anchor between the marketing activities. If the show today can create year-round interest in buyers then it offers more value. By that, we don’t mean announcing the next show, but it means showcasing new products that are available to buy.

There are a few key ways to keep your company front-and-center long after the trade show floor has closed. First, make sure you have an up-to-date website that prominently features your trade show booth number and contact information. Secondly, send out post-show emails and direct mailers that highlight new products and specials. Third, social media to share photos and videos from the event. And finally, a mechanism to encourage exhibitors to follow up each and every lead generated at the show.

8. End to End Sales Transactions

Jimmy MacDonald, founder of the London Design Fair, is a firm believer in the benefits of end to end transactions for trade shows.


“If I were to set up the show again I would not do it without
e-commerce.”

- says Jimmy MacDonald, founder, of London Design Fair.


Under this model, exhibitors are able to make sales on the spot, rather than relying on catalogs and business cards that may be tucked away in a drawer after the event. This convenience means that exhibitors are much more likely to make sales, to the tune of five times as much as traditional shows.

Exhibitors at Shows with end to end transactions make 5X more sales than traditional models where cards and catalogs get exchanged. The collateral can be conveniently forgotten.

For buyers, being able to make purchases at the show helps to ensure that they get what they came for. It also saves them time and money by avoiding the need to follow up with exhibitors after the event. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, end-to-end transactions is a key way to differentiate your trade show from others.


9. Easy Post-Show Retargeting

Even though the physical booth may be gone, post-show retargeting can help keep your brand top of mind. By definition, retargeting is the practice of serving ads to people who have already shown an interest in your product or service.

And there are a number of different ways to do it.

For example, you can use LinkedIn Ads to target people who visited your booth but didn’t convert. Or you can run Google Display Network ads that will appear on websites that your target audience is likely to visit.You can even set up Facebook remarketing campaigns that will serve ads to people who have visited your website or interacted with your brand on social media. The key is to stay in front of your target audience and keep your brand top of mind. With a little creativity, post-show retargeting can help you do just that.

After the booth comes down, the trade show organizers go off on holiday. Well times have changed. At least a month or two after the show is over, people can still make

10.Ability to Analyze Buyers

360 Buyer Analytics provides a window into the buyer’s mind, helping exhibitors to understand their thought processes and motivations.

360 Buyer Analytics helps exhibitors see what products buyers are interested in and how long they spend looking at them. This information can be used to plan exhibitor product assortments and better understand the buyer’s needs and interests.

Buyer Analytics is a valuable tool for exhibitors, providing insights that can be used to improve the exhibition experience for both exhibitors and buyers alike.




Vinit Patil is the CEO/ Co-founder of Ribbon, a modern platform for Tradesfairs and Art Fairs, and Showrooms. To request a demo visit meetribbon.com/digital-shows

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