Trend: Marketers are now using virtual showrooms to tell innovative brand stories.
When COVID brought the tradeshow industry to its knees, most traditional exhibitors were skeptical about virtual replacement offerings. With good reason: the products were rushed, expensive, and generic. Marketing managers scoffed and wrote off the category.
Then, rightly so. Now, not so much, and we've provided five reasons below to explain why.
Now, innovation in blending tradeshow and virtual space experiences has produced real results. This foreshadows a future mixing virtual and physical face-to-face marketing well past COVID. The key innovation: highly customized brand experiences at low cost. This means attainable ROI.
Let’s start with a quick definition. What exactly is a virtual showroom?
A virtual showroom is a custom-designed, permanent virtual space for businesses to create an immersive online experience and instant feel for their brand, products and services. They use 3D product manipulation, embedded media, video, live-streaming, and chat integration to tell a brand story on several levels of user engagement.
It is not a virtual exhibition, which is a rented portal on a temporary platform to filter industry traffic during a specific “exhibition” period. A virtual showroom is a fully-owned property and can be hosted on a corporate website permanently.
The 5 reasons every business needs a virtual showroom in 2021:
1) Generate more leads
Have you ever heard the expression – 'you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket.' Well, that's precisely what a virtual showroom is – your golden lottery ticket to match with that prospect that wants a more immersive experience before progressing in the sales cycle.
Embedding a stunning custom-designed virtual showroom on your website can take your business to another level of client engagement.
How often do sales reps feel: "If I could just get them to experience [X], I know they'd get it!" Even in normal times, prospects don’t always have access to your company offices or even physical representatives at exhibitions and trade fairs. The virtual showroom will help generate more face-to-face channel-like leads than ever before.
Click here to talk to an account manager about how a specific client used their virtual showroom to generate exhibition-like leads.
2) Collect powerful data insights
Visitor Data: Where do visitors come from? Are any unexpected segments or trends?
Engagement: What is the preferred sequence of product engagement? What products perform best given the audience and the media/content mix?
Sales Performance: Better understand your sales cycle as you see what information is necessary to convert leads to progress your sales process.
Indeed, GDPR compliant virtual showrooms allow for detailed experience mapping, development of trends, and breadth of engagement. You will more intelligently focus sales and marketing tactics to close even more deals in the future.
3) Connect and network prospects all over the world 24/7
A virtual showroom allows you to connect and interact with clients around the globe 24/7. Easy integration with existing office communication platforms like Microsoft Teams or Slack makes the virtual space a place to connect.
It also allows them to share your virtual showroom via social media, email, etc. The power of the sacred client referral can be amplified with your brand space. The potential to scale an experience touch-point to new customers justifies the need for a virtual showroom alone, regardless of COVID.
Click here to talk to an account manager about how a client integrated their virtual showroom to better interact with their clients and prospects.
4) Stand out from the competition
Anything new that differentiates you from your competitors is worth considering. Creating a custom space for your clients signals a laser focus on and understanding of their needs. A virtual showroom does exactly that.
Gamification and branded 3D environments are new and open to a first-mover advantage. With the right partner, it's easy to start. Standalone virtual showroom solutions can be hosted on a corporate website, in conjunction with virtual or physical events, and shared via social media.
5) Low cost, if you find someone who knows what they’re doing.
Real 3D environments start at €50.000 and are unnecessary. Virtual showrooms are 2D graphic environments rendered to appear 3D, and usually range from €5.000 to €15.000. This means you aren’t overpaying for tech you don’t need. You pay for creative brand storytelling, functionally, and data analysis.
Virtual showrooms are typically less than 10% of your total cost to attend a physical exhibition. If you partner with the right exhibit house, they may even throw it in for free with your physical exhibition booth (cough, cough, click here to find out more about that!).
6) Bonus reason! It's quick to start and easy to look smart
Simply get in touch with a representative at Beire (can do that here). They’ll ask you a couple of simple questions. You then forward any stock marketing materials and brand guidelines close at hand. Wait a couple of weeks and.....Voila! Just like that, you'll get an initial concept to show your team.
From there, the concept is completed, functionality embedded, and you’re ready to launch!
Virtual showrooms help bridge the brand continuity gap that's opened since COVID squashed in-person experiences. In 2021, this will be the solution to generate exhibition-like leads, tell your brand story, show laser client focus, and elevate your engagement. Beyond COVID, B2B clients will simply expect this level of experience when they cannot meet face to face on the show floor.