This era of information and technology has brought a huge amount of transformation in human’s life. We are experiencing the world in way which was never experienced by humans before us, this is revolution no doubt. But as technology started transforming every walk of life there is a debate of adapting and managing changes coming towards it.
I belong to the exhibition industry which is one of the oldest service industries. The reason of writing this article is to incur my contribution on the topic “Whether an online exhibition is the good substitute of conventional trade fairs or not” which is usually being discussed in the process of transformation of any industry.
Being very clear to my readers I want to state the reason I am writing this article, I am not against technology, neither I am in support of replicating technology to conventional industry with out understanding its dynamics. My purpose to write this piece is to manage this change in effective and efficient way, not in a way that any IT company jumps in and kills the passion of the industry. If we track the history of trade fairs, it has always been the medium of buying and selling different products, and sellers also introduced new products in trade fairs. But now exhibition has integrated with modern concepts of economy where industry gathers up to:
To network with the potential and existing clients
To establish strong linkages with international and local suppliers
To learn the new global trends in the industry
To research on new aspects of business
To gather the database
To get the customer feedback and face to face interaction
To attract the new investors
To introduce new products
To do marketing research for new product or service development
To build and strengthen the trust of international stakeholders
To collaborate with competitors
To protect the interests of the industry
To test the quality and characteristics of tangible products
Studies have shown that only 7% of communication is based on the written or verbal word. The most part, 93% is based on nonverbal body language whereas being on online portal limits the achievement of above objectives in an appropriate way. Some of those are already being done through b2b portals still they lack the human experience of interaction. And which is not only a mere point but a strong reason to prefer trade fairs over meeting people online. And elements which are tangible could have the risk because of high expectation level which could lead towards loss.
Although the Information Technology is transforming our industry in itself, websites of trade shows are now dynamic they offer much more then just information about tradeshows, such as schedule an appointment with exhibitor, contact exhibitor after the show, 3D floor plan of your show, online visitors directory, social media integration in website, news updates and blogs, nowadays many renowned trade shows have their own mobile applications, which have potential of more development using added values and increasing effectively managing for exhibitor and visitor. Although there is potential for more growth and it can transform the whole industry but yet there are some boundaries for any change, it is in high regard to maintain the decorum of the industry otherwise it will end up being any random portals.
Past trends also show that there is increase in no. of exhibition being held globally; in a report published by UFI it is shown that from 2006- 2012 there is a rise in participation.