During the pandemic, the economy has taken a hit. Many businesses and companies are closed. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs. Business owners have even lost customers and, of course, money. However, of all these types of businesses, the one that has been hit the hardest is SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). They are one of the backbones of the economy. Before the pandemic, they were challenged by falling sales and rising costs. Now, they are given a new, but the most difficult challenge: how to get more customers.
To help SMEs survive the economic downturn, many governments are trying to provide solutions. One of them is by doing a virtual expo. This event will allow SMEs to participate in online exhibitions where they can gain insights and connections to build a sustainable and resilient business. Several ASEAN countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand have organized expos for their local SMEs to ensure their survival in this difficult situation. In addition, it is believed that there are several other reasons why several countries hold virtual expos for SMEs, including:
A. IMPROVING THEIR REACH
Offline expos have several limits including the amount number of participants. Depending on the venue capacity, only a limited number of people can be part of the event. Virtual expos overcome these barriers and allow attendees living in any part of the world to be part of the event. Compared to physical events, online conferencing could invite several times more attendees.
B. ERASING LOGISTIC PROBLEMS
It is no secret that face-to-face expos come with more logistical problems. Even the day before the event, the organizers often get involved in logistical problems that divert their attention from the event. The virtual exhibition frees the organizers of this problem. In fact, conference organizers can sit back and relax while the hosting platform manages everything on their behalf.
C. REDUCING EVENT COSTS
Imagine an SMEs expo where the owners do not have to spend time, transportation, decoration, and spaces. It is an estimated savings for cost. Offline expos cost more money. With inflation rising almost everywhere, these costs always follow an upward trend. Online expos free organizers from unnecessary costs and leverage technology to create physical experiences in virtual spaces that provide better results.
D. CONNECTING WITH AUDIENCES
In physical conferences, it is difficult for the SMEs representatives to connect with attendees. Online expos address this issue and enable businesses to build lasting relationships with attendees. Based on the hosting platform, virtual conferencing usually provides audio, video, and text chat features. Chats can be one-on-one sessions between participants and representatives of the organizing company or group chats where all participants can engage in conversation with company representatives. This will provide a great experience for both parties who obviuosly want to have a good relationship.