It’s no one’s fault, but trade shows in 2020 have been a dismal failure. Thanks to the global pandemic completely upending industries and life as we knew it, many shows were canceled outright. The ones that weren’t were quickly changed to virtual formats. And while we give the show organizers major kudos for their efforts, it’s become clear that virtual trade shows just don’t work. But, all has not been totally lost. In fact, there were some valuable business lessons learned from experimentation with going digital, specifically with virtual sales. Here’s what you should know. 

Reaching New Audiences 

What we realized with trade shows in 2020 is that the very fact of their being held virtually gave way to exposure to new audiences. Many people don’t want to travel to trade shows, or don’t want to give up several days of work to attend them. So they end up skipping them entirely. But with the advent of primarily virtual trade shows, those people who used to stay home could now freely attend. This means a new audience, which means more potential for sales. 

So, what did all these smart businesses start doing? Many of them began creating virtual sales tools to reach these (and existing) audiences. And this concept is really the golden goose of 2020. Instead of trying to get people to sit in their chairs and check out trade show booths from behind their computer screens, a virtual sales experience is something they can play with on their own time. It’s something that’s engaging, and can be used in perpetuity by the company that commissioned it. Best of all, it can be used in tandem with an in-person trade show, a virtual one – or no trade show at all. 

Immersive & Effective

So what exactly might a virtual sales tool look like? The options are nearly endless, but imagine this for a moment…  You have a tool on your website that an interested buyer can click into when they have a free moment. They see an image of your product, which they can rotate on their screen and explode into parts. They can interact with each piece, spin the battery pack around, perhaps, or drill into the products that can go along with it. 

It’s immersive, which makes it very engaging. It also gives the viewer control over their experience. If they want to learn more about one part of the product, they can spend as much time as they want clicking into that area. But if they don’t want to, they can simply move on to a different part. Buyers appreciate the freedom and ability to explore the product on their own terms (and without having their time wasted), making it incredibly effective. <<Check out an example of the virtual sales tool we created with LG Digit Tour here>>


So of course this begs the question of cost… How affordable are virtual sales experiences? Right now, most do require a sizable investment. But large organizations should be able to afford them, especially since trade show budgets for the year are probably unused and can be reallocated as needed. Even if building a tool like this isn’t accessible to you, budget-wise, right now, it’ll likely be in the near future as the technology becomes more widely used. 

Also, remember that a virtual sales experience will have legs throughout many trade show seasons and other applications. It’s a wise investment, and one that’s bound to see great ROI (much more so than virtual trade shows). Interested in exploring such an option? Give us a call!