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Digital Marketplaces Could Solve a Huge Problem For Wholesale Buyers at Live Trade Shows

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Visual summary of the EventTechBrief.com article, "Digital Marketplaces Could Solve a Huge Problem For Wholesale Buyers at Live Trade Shows." To read the full article or subscribe to the newsletter, visit EventTechBrief.com

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Digital Marketplaces Could Solve a Huge Problem For Wholesale Buyers at Live Trade Shows

  1. 1. Digital Markeplaces Could Solve a Huge Problem for Wholesale Buyers at Live Trade Shows Brought to you by: EventTechBrief.com
  2. 2. Wholesale buyers - Particularly those in the gift, home goods, furniture, and apparel industries - have a huge pain point. At times, it can be excruciatingly tedious for them to search a large exhibition floor for products and companies that meet their specific buying criteria. Product directories are only marginally helpful and pre-show Google searches yield poor results.
  3. 3. By borrowing from the ecommerce playbook, trade show organizers and a handful of platform developers are coming to the rescue.
  4. 4. Dan Merns was one of the buyers who wrestled with the inefficiencies of large trade shows. As a buyer for retail giant Bed, Bath & Beyond, he struggled with having enough time to find new products when much of his show schedule was taken up by pre-arranged meetings. Plus, he often wanted to simply research a new product or category to get some basic information prior to having a conversation with a salesperson, but the tools were not available.
  5. 5. To provide attendees with a way to research products efficiently before a trade show or instantly qualify exhibitors from the show floor, Merns developed a white-label digital marketplace designed to complement face-to-face events. Buyers with access to MerchantFuse can Search & Filter Products Save Favorites and follow exhibitors The platform can also be ecommerce enabled if the show organizer desires that capability.
  6. 6. They can also sell advertising or collect transaction fees. Exhibitors can enjoy additional exposure while avoiding the hassle of recreating another online store. MerchantFuse synchronizes with exhibitors’ existing ecommerce websites. Buyers aren’t the only participants who benefit from event-specific digital marketplaces. With MerchantFuse, for example, organizers can access data and analytics, such as trending products or search terms.
  7. 7. Advanstar’s digital marketplace, ShopTheFloor, combines brands and products from fifteen of the organization’s apparel shows. Vince Tsai, senior vice president, general manager of ShopTheFloor, agrees that such platforms offer multiple benefits to buyers and brands. “Buyers have a lot to think about. We felt there was an opportunity to aggregate [product discovery and wholesale buying] into an online platform. And, if a buyer can’t make it to the show, he can still see the trends online.” ShopTheFloor is one half of a two-part technology strategy that Advanstar has developed to streamline and digitize the wholesale buying process. An iOS order- taking app works in conjunction with the digital marketplace. It provides exhibitors with the ability to take orders digitally so that they can be entered more easily into the company’s ERP (enterprise resource planning) system later or to enter orders directly into the ERP from the show floor. - Vince Tsai, ShopTheFloor
  8. 8. Both MerchantFuse and Advanstar have thought carefully about how product discovery happens both in real life and online. In an effort to ease the pain and boost the opportunity at wholesale merchandise trade shows, the companies are developing ways to swap the inefficiency of one platform for the efficiency of the other without destroying the value and integrity of either. Tsai has no concerns that ShopTheFloor and other marketplaces that follow will negatively impact the company’s live events. “ShopTheFloor enhances the live shows. It’s a great opportunity [for buyers] to find new products online so that when they come to the show, they can be more efficient,” he explains. For exhibitors, he says, “It’s an opportunity for them to get their products exposed to new buyers and have the ability to digitize the buying process.” Digital event marketplaces appear to be the next chapter in the ever-evolving story of how and where live events and digital platforms can coexist and converge.
  9. 9. Read the full article: EVENT TECH BRIEF.com http://bit.ly/XvuXzz Subscribe to the newsletter: http://bit.ly/1md0lrY

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