A real driver for innovation, start-ups have a direct impact on the economy. These “new entrants” to the market can quickly become true mastodons, but to do so, they need to find judicious financing and develop their reputation. Until now, trade shows and other professional events have been excellent ways to present their projects, demonstrate the effectiveness of products, convince business angels and thus perfect these objectives.

 

Exhibitions 100% online

Since the COVID 19 pandemic, which has killed several million people worldwide to date, the idea of social distancing has become standardized. Exhibitions, which owe their success to the idea of human contact and experiential marketing, have had to reinvent themselves and focus entirely on online contact.  Rather destabilizing for both companies and the public, the sensations are different, the projects are drowned in the mass with only a logo and a short description as a distinction. The perfect example to illustrate this is the Consumer Electronics Show 2021 in Las Vegas, which was for the first time in its history a 100% digital edition. This legendary show dedicated to technological innovation has been held every year for more than 50 years in Las Vegas and usually brings together more than 4,500 exhibitors and more than 200,000 visitors. This year Business France, the public agency that traditionally brings together a large part of the French startup delegation, had planned for 113 start-ups to attend CES, compared with more than 150 last year. For many of them, the digital format was not an option, even though the virtual location on the CES site was 10 times less expensive than a traditional physical location. This significant reduction was widely felt, as only 1,700 exhibitors in total participated in this e-event. 

 

Commitment to Experiential Marketing at exhibitions

In recent years, exhibitions have become a real meeting place for brands and the public. Salons allow entrepreneurs to be completely transparent and to have direct and honest communication. Visitors can remain permanently captivated by their discoveries, and more easily keep a positive or negative experience. In addition, numerous marketing tools have made these events sensational attractions. The visitor’s emotion is more easily stimulated when all his senses provide him valuable information. Visitors have the opportunity to participate in conferences and workshops animated on giant screens. The organizers offer predefined circuits that are actually increased through the use of the smartphone. Exhibitors promote them in the form of entertainment to animate visitors and feed their database. Technology has accelerated the evolution of robotics. PEPPER, the robot guide, made its appearance at the shows. This interaction stimulates the curiosity of the public, who are often communicating with a machine for the first time.

Shows have been forced to accelerate their transition to the digital world faster than expected. The current means implemented are not yet fully adapted to allow optimal visibility of the start-ups. The evolution of technologies and online presentation techniques will continue to evolve to allow more and more reality and sensation to online visitors. Currently the Visio, is the most used solution to face this health crisis. The lack of interaction is forcing exhibitors to captivate their audience on new media. Virtual reality or mixed reality will probably be used more and more in the near future. Producing less human contact while producing an increasingly unique and unforgettable experience of the senses.

Adapt and innovate for the approval of e-shows

Exhibitions are already specializing in this promising sector and plan to offer virtual and interactive stands. The advantages for the exhibitors are economical, as they are much less expensive than a physical exhibition and they allow to gather an unlimited number of exhibitors and visitors. The stimulation of our 5 senses remains the supreme ambition of these new actors. Indeed the addition of some devices such as Augmented Reality is a major asset the acceptance of the largest number. The company Omni one and Kat Vr De offers helmets that allow a real freedom of movement at 360° and to go even further, with the possibility to smell the odors through 3 cartridges integrated in the VR helmet (company Vasqo). Touching and holding objects in the virtual living room will also be possible. The company TeslaSuite has already announced the upcoming release of these gloves with haptic return.

However, one of the major drawbacks for the visitor remains the cost of the devices. Indeed the risk of digital divide is considerable. In the measure in which the acquisition of a computer of last generation with an adequate configuration costs today more than 2000 euros.  It will be necessary to be patient and wait a few years for the price of these installations to decrease thanks to the technological evolution.