For the past two weeks, my days have been filled ZOOMing and INSTAGRAMing. I have gone to High Point and Atlanta. I have been inside showrooms and designers’ houses. In the last two weeks, I have gone more places and seen more people than physically possible in the pre-Coronavirus era. I have gone to cocktail parties, birthday parties, cub scout meetings, garden parties. I have visited with friends not seen for a half century!
Communication is changing. When the Pandemic is a past, we will discover that the world of commerce is different.
A Few Predictions
All buyers — small and large — can now have the full attention of the staff of manufacturers/wholesalers.
In three ½ hour sessions, Nourison explained their entire complex lines. I have never had anyone at Nourison give me 1-1/2 hours of their time – and I doubt that even big buyers have either.
Reps can develop a personal relationship with buyers on whom they can afford to visit and who don’t even come to market
Top management of a wholesaler/manufacturer will become a known visible presence to even the small buyer.
The challenge now becomes how to pull a customer to a Zoom presentation. Perhaps harder than pulling a customer into a market showroom.
Exhibitors will expect Markets to deliver virtual attendees in addition to the live attendees.
Because of the ease of assymetric yet real-time communication, manufacturers will be closer to the end user.
During most online sessions, viewers can ask questions which are answered during the session or later. Fascinating when other participants can see the questions.
Zoom Focus groups will help manufacturers will no longer have to wait for know what rugs will be “good sellers.” They do not have to wait for markets Zoom Focus
An engaging presentation will be an essential business skill.
When the speaker enthusiastically presented his/her product, I was glued to the screen. I thought of the many designers and owners I have met a market whose love of product is their message. Now these people can have impact no matter how small their booth.
Reading a script is deadly and sleep inducing.
With availability pre-market and post-market, Zoomed market seminars will improve the market experience for buyers.
On-line seminars I attended, appeared to have at least 3 times the number of attendees than similar ones I have gone to at markets. Seminars at market may be good for the new-to-market buyer, but as they rob valuable buying time, many do not attend them. Being able to “go to” seminars at other times, will increase the attendance.
Small-space and temporary exhibitors can have equal impact as the large-space and permanent exhibitors.
The skill of the presenter the critical element.
Most of the seminars I visited, the presenter was either sitting in front of his/her computer or had a cell phone mounted on a tri-pod (Amazon cost c. $60.) Product presentations range from copies of catalog pages to carrying a cell phone around a showroom.
Getting potential customers to come to virtual markets, virtual showrooms and virtual seminars will be a marketing focus.