Moonis Rehman | 07 Dec, 2021
As businesses seemed to be limping back to normalcy after suffering from
the COVID-19 pandemic for almost two years now, a new variant 'Omicron' is
posing a renewed threat to mankind. Reports suggest that the new variant is
more contagious than the previous ones and may deal a big blow to the already
impacted MSMEs in India.
The news of the 'Omnicron' variant brings back distressing memories from
March-April this year when we witnessed the second wave of the COVID-19
pandemic that took millions of lives across the globe.
The pandemic had brought to fore unprecedented challenges before each
one of us. Our lives were turned upside down and we are still trying to
navigate through these difficult times and adjust to the 'new normal'. Small businesses that were just getting their
confidence and were hoping that the worst was behind them now once again face
the possibility of getting closed-down with the news of the new variant already
affecting people in some parts of the world.
But with challenges came the opportunities as well. Our dependence on
the use of technology has increased manifold since the last year or so and
technology has opened up alternative avenues to beat the vagaries of the
coronavirus pandemic. Be it education, business, shopping, e-commerce, banking,
medical care, technology has helped us navigate the current crisis with ease,
maintain business continuity with resilience and stay relevant during current
The foremost victim of businesses was physical trade fairs which were
always a medium to showcase, interact and grow business. Since last year’s
March they have either been cancelled or postponed.
But again technology came to the rescue of the business community in the
form of “virtual trade shows” through which businesses can still promote and
market their products globally, interact one on one with buyers, have product
launches, webinars and business meetings. The platform is cost-effective, there
is no logistics involved and buyers/visitors from across the globe can login
and visit the trade show virtually without having to travel. The event is live
24 x 7 and visitors have the option to have online chat, view product
brochures, have one on one video calls with participating companies, and leave
their business cards for future correspondence.
The exhibitors/participating companies can track the number of visitors
to their booth/stall, they can track the country from where the visitors are
attending the event, have product launches, webinars, Q&A sessions et al.
The platform provides an opportunity for small and medium businesses to sustain
and continue to grow during the current times as well. The ambience of a
virtual trade fair has everything that is there in a physical trade show,
except there is no face-to-face interaction that happens in a physical fair.
The current pandemic has shown us that we can't afford to keep
technology as an option. It is a necessity. And as the current crisis is far
from over and we have to learn to adopt new technologies, new ways to survive
and overcome the current crisis. In the coming days, as it has been proved
already, virtual trade fairs will remain as the opportunity that is going to
change the way we do business, for better.
(The writer is Head of Content & Digital Marketing at TradeIndia)