Outlook positive as virtual show notches 8000 visitors

The Visual Connections’ Print, Sign, Display & Graphics Virtual Trade Show has received over 8000 visitors since it opened its virtual doors in June with many exhibitors reporting positive flow-ons, genuine leads and some early sales.

The show has filled a gap left by the postponed Visual Impact and drupa trade shows and will run until the end of September.

An end-of-financial-year run has pushed up activity even though the federal government’s increased $150,000 instant asset write off scheme set to continue until the end of this year.

Visual Connections CEO, Peter Harper, said the long-term strategy was deliberate in the face of a rapidly changing economic and regulatory environment and uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic itself.

“Together with our exhibitors, who have their finger closely on the pulse of the industry, we took the view that any resource we created had to be available in the longer-term – so businesses could come back, time and again as their circumstances dictated, to find solutions to help them recover, rebuild, and create new opportunities into the future,” Harper said.

“Time will tell – but every indication so far says it was the right call. Industry businesses remain keen for information, ideas and inspiration and the Virtual Trade Show is providing a valuable resource.”

What the exhibitors have to say

Ecolease director Marian Taggart-Holland said the company had an ‘extremely busy month’ in June, with well over 100 hits on the asset write-off video which featured on the virtual EcoLease stand.

“There are definitely a lot of businesses buying equipment,” she says.

Though leads are still in progress for most exhibitors, several companies have already made sales at the show, while upticks in website hits, enquiries and sales leads tell a positive story also.

Ian Parsonson from Hexis reported strong activity and sales right from the start of the show, with a particularly good response to show specials, as did Michael Smith from Eurotech, who said the virtual show was a welcome initiative.

“It’s good to see the trade thinking in terms of innovation,” he said.

Ron King, MD of Wilenco, says at least one of the company’s recent sales of its featured Rollover lamination tables unquestionably came directly from the Virtual Trade Show, which also drove a 22 per cent increase in hits to his website.

Prytec and Sign to Badge Solutions also reported strong leads for their new lasers, with the latter saying it has picked up two new clients as a result of the show.

Mimaki national marketing manager, Brad Creighton, said the company’s ‘six month cash back’ offer on finance was also very well received, generating numerous leads, while Jake Higgins from Roland DG also reported a spike in web visits and sales, driven by its show participation and EOFY promotions.

Ben Eaton, CEO of Starleaton, reported an uptick in activity and enquiries, particularly related to the Zund cutters which featured at the show, saying it had ‘absolutely’ contributed to the company’s sales pipeline, while Luke Wooldridge from Fujifilm also reported strong interest in ‘show specials’.

Is it as good as a physical trade show?

Kelly Tam from Epson says it’s difficult to compare an online show with the ‘face-to-face’ interaction available at a traditional trade show but, like many others, she says Epson has seen a noticeable lift in enquiries, especially immediately after launch, and has validated those as genuine leads.

Meanwhile, the show itself is generating plenty of interest, with the platform developed by Australian company ControlZone (also an exhibitor at the virtual expo) receiving enquiries from around the world.

John Hadfield, CEO of ControlZone, says the company has already sold the technology to event organisers in Belgium and the UK, as well as more locally in Australia, on the basis of its familiar, ‘website-like’ environment and easily-navigable design.

The show will run until the end of September. Please click here to visit.

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