Before March of 2020, individuals and businesses alike were gearing up for the spring trade shows season. Home improvement and construction companies had events lined up to showcase their products and services as well as secure business for the spring and summer months.
Then COVID-19 started spreading around the world, causing mass panic and the closure of schools, restaurants, and retail stores worldwide. COVID has currently infected 5.5 Million people and has killed over 300 thousand people. While the disease continues to ravage the health of individuals, the economic impact as a result of widespread shutdowns cannot be overlooked. The full economic impact is still uncertain, but it is expected to be unlike anything we have seen in recorded history.
Trade shows have always been an excellent way for companies to connect with individuals and other businesses, showcase their expertise, and book work. However, since the spread of COVID-19, governments around the world are canceling all events which will attract crowds for the foreseeable future. While these steps are necessary for public safety, the effect it will have on trades and the home improvement industry is still unknown.
The Coronavirus has effectively canceled 24 worldwide exhibitions and conferences, an industry worth $2.5 trillion.
Some well-known trade shows around the world include:
These cancellations will have damaging ripple effects for the construction and home improvement industries. Currently, businesses are scrambling for new ways to showcase their products and services. Customers no longer have a physical location to find experts who can assist them with their construction projects. As a result, more companies are turning to online exhibitions on platforms such as Alibaba, Made in China, and Expo21XX.
However, marketing experts warn that there is no substitution for face to face interaction with customers. Trade shows are essential for new businesses to establish themselves in the business and residential community as trade shows typically attract local businesses and residents. Without these shows, new companies cannot adequately expose themselves to the market.
History of Trade Shows
A trade show is a gathering of companies all belonging to a specific industry to showcase the latest products and services. These events give customers and industry experts alike an idea of the latest advances and improvements in the industry.
Trade shows have been around since the beginning of capitalism, and in our fast-paced culture where technology is ever-changing and evolving, they are now more critical than ever. Asia has seen an influx in the number of trade shows that took place in the past few years due to the rapid industrialization of the region.
Importance of Trade Shows
Trade shows are essential for many different reasons:
Virtual Trade Shows
Even before COVID started to spread, virtual trade shows were becoming more popular. A virtual tradeshow is hosted online for a limited time but has the same goal as an in-person event-to connect exhibitors and potential customers. Exhibitors can build virtual “booths” to showcase information related to the products and services they offer. While virtual trade shows have been increasing in popularity in recent years, with the spread of COVID, many in-person trade shows are having to shift to a virtual platform.
Benefits of Virtual Trade Shows
Virtual trade shows require less upfront cost and less work as there isn’t a need to set up a physical location. Detailed tracking of customers can be done much more precisely with a virtual trade show, and companies can have access to customer’s information through an online portal rather than having to ask for it. Virtual trade shows are more environmentally friendly, as they require fewer resources.
Disadvantages of Virtual Trade Shows
While virtual trade shows require less work upfront, the benefits customers get from a virtual show cannot be compared to face to face interactions. Participants don’t feel the excitement of walking through a crowded venue, and businesses have to work that much harder to capture any attention.
While virtual trade shows can save time and money, for the construction and home improvement industry, face-to-face interaction with potential customers is more important than low overhead costs, which is why virtual trade shows are significantly less effective.
B2B v B2C
Businesses that operate as B2B (business to business) work to sell products or services to other companies. An example of a B2B company is a concrete and masonry company that installs floors in warehouses and factories. Competition tends to be lower among B2B businesses. There is less of a market as there are fewer companies than there are individuals. However, while competition tends to be smaller, making a sale is much more difficult in a B2B industry. Business professionals tend to have more prerequisites to consider before making a purchase, such as the suppliers’ skills, the deadlines they can meet, the payment method they require, etc.
As a result, these companies tend to struggle on online platforms and in virtual expos as B2B customers are specific with their needs. It’s harder for a business to convey their ability to meet those needs on an online platform rather than in person.
B2C businesses (business to customer), particularly B2C businesses in the construction and home improvement industries, sell products or services directly to an end customer. Competition among B2C businesses tends to be much higher, with several companies offering the same product or service. However, the customer typically has two concerns: the product and the price. Therefore, it is much easier for B2C businesses to demonstrate their products and services online and hit these key points that are most important to the end buyer.
While B2C businesses can sell to customers more effectively online than B2B businesses, with the spread of the virus, more people are choosing not to order supplies for their home improvement projects and instead postpone these projects until the world becomes more stable. Everyone is suffering.
The trades industry is struggling with the inability to showcase products and services at a physical location and by the number of construction projects and new builds being canceled or indefinitely postponed.
OuuKey Can Help
OuuKey is a manufacturer of kitchen and bathroom appliances and accessories and provides high-quality products to customers.
Large companies are struggling right now because they are not receiving any large orders. OuuKey, unlike other larger companies, can sell to suppliers in smaller quantities as thy cautiously start to go back to work. Businesses are worried about making large orders for building supplies with the future so uncertain. If another wave hits, construction can once again stop immediately, and companies could potentially have building materials that they no longer can use. This is why OuuKey is here to provide quality bathroom and kitchen accessories at affordable prices, so home improvement projects of any size can continue.
How the Industry Must Shift
With the future of trade shows for both B2B and B2C companies still so uncertain, these businesses will have to shift their manufacturing to reflect this new trend. Mass production of building materials and accessories is no longer feasible with the future of construction around the world so unknown. Businesses will need to learn how to manufacture by demand, which will require more precise market predictions and the utilization of small scale manufacturing.
Large crowds will not be allowed for the foreseeable future, so the industry of trade shows and expos is over for the time being. Therefore, businesses, particularly B2B businesses, will need to find new, creative ways to connect directly with their customers. In the meantime, look at Ouukey to supply all your bathroom and kitchen appliances and accessories. No order is too small, and we are here to assist in any project you are looking to complete. The world keeps turning.