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Last updated: 07 Dec, 2021  

It.Thmb.jpg Virtual Trade Fairs - Technology to the rescue of SMEs

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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 times.

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)

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