CBM Daily Digest

Coping with COVID: Trade Shows

Love ’em or hate ’em. tradeshows are the number one networking vehicle for retailers, distributors, and manufacturers meet, mingle, and do business. With more than a dozen CBD shows in the US alone, we’re super curious how the trade show industry will deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. One show, the CBD Retail Trends Conference, is the first to toe into the all-digital tradeshow model. They just announced their virtual show will be held May 6-7, rain, shine or COVID-19. The show boasts the same speakers and online sessions as attendees would have gotten in person, but instead presented all digitally.

In our ongoing series on how to cope with being a small business or retailer in the COVID-19 crisis, we’re trying to tackle the questions that retailers have most right now. Today we’re taking on a big question: how will trade shows work in the new world?

No More Hand Shaking

Love ’em or hate ’em. tradeshows are the number one networking vehicle for retailers, distributors, and manufacturers meet, mingle, and do business. With more than a dozen CBD shows in the US alone, we’re super curious how the trade show industry will deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

One show, the CBD Retail Trends Conference, is the first to toe into the all-digital tradeshow model. They just announced their virtual show will be held May 6-7, rain, shine or COVID-19. The show boasts the same speakers and online sessions as attendees would have gotten in person, but instead presented all digitally.

From the show’s materials:

The CBD and hemp retail products markets are expanding exponentially, despite uncertainty due to a patchwork of federal, state and local legislation. Major name brand companies in the beverage, snack, wellness, cosmetic and other industries are investing in CBD product lines, ready to capitalize on the developing CBD market. Retail outlets should be poised to capitalize, too.

C-store and other retailers who attend the CBD Retail Trends Virtual Conference will learn the difference between hemp, cannabis and CBD products; which customers are buying those products – and why; and which new products and trends are on the horizon.

The “Perfect” Show

While we applaud CBD Retail Trends for going all-digital, it’s got us thinking. What would make for a perfect digital replacement for these shows? You can’t digitally recreate grabbing a drink with someone at the hotel bar, or running into an old friend while walking the show floor. SO what can you do digitally, and more importantly what should these shows be offering?

Our thought is this: the seminars are great, but we want virtual booths for each vendor. As a retailer, we want to be able to find the category of vendors we are interested in, and then take a virtual tour of their “booth”. Perhaps we can click on videos for product demonstrations, download “take home” materials, click a button to be sent a follow-up (and maybe some swag). Most importantly, if we have a question, we would love to be able to click a button and wait in a virtual queue to talk to someone from the brand.

And while these are only suggestions, they are big ones because the fate of the entire tradeshow industry hangs in the balance. We certainly know what we want from this show, and the future of shows.

To Top