The last year has been a wild ride. E-commerce is way up and in-person business trade show attendance is way down. Since the beginning of the pandemic, digital conferences have had to step in to fill the void for entrepreneurs and businesses looking to connect. That’s why in this episode of the AM/PM Podcast, Tim Jordan welcomes the VP of Marketing for ASD, Camille Candella, to talk about how the last year has affected them and what ASD has done to adapt. She also speaks about what they’ve learned from the changes that they’ve been forced to make, and which aspects of digital meetups might be retained as the trade show industry transitions to an in-person experience once again.
In episode 248 of the AM/PM Podcast (sponsored by CardConnect), Tim and Camille discuss:
- 03:00 – Las Vegas’ Biggest Customer
- 05:00 – How Camille Navigated the Last Year of COVID
- 07:30 – Tim Jordan’s ASD Trade Show History
- 09:00 – What Will Trade Shows Look Like in 2021?
- 12:00 – In-Person Conferences are Coming Back Quickly
- 14:00 – In-Person Meetups are Irreplaceable
- 17:30 – What Aspects of Digital Conferences Will Carry Over?
- 20:00 – Trade Shows and Trend Spotting
- 22:00 – What’s New in 2021 for ASD?
- 24:30 – Leveling Up Merchandising at Trade Shows
- 26:00 – Are Trade Shows E-Commerce Friendly?
- 29:00 – There’s Room for Everyone at Trade Shows
- 32:00 – Tim – “The World Will Have Normalized When ASD Returns”
- 34:00 – How to Attend ASD Vegas
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
The world has seen a lot of digital content and trade shows, are people ready to get back to in person events?
Yes they are. Emerald, the parent company to ASD, has done extensive research and surveys of both buyers and sellers and they are dying to get back to seeing each other and products in person. ASD and its sister show IGES, has actually been one of the first few trade shows to stage again. In the last six months, we’ve successfully held events in Texas, Florida and Tennessee with compliance to COVID rules and regulations.
We actually wrote about our findings about the importance of live events on our blog. You can find the link in the show notes. What we found the need for in-person events is psychological, people need to interact with people and build community.
As Priya Parker, author of The Art of Gathering and one of my favorite writers said, “COVID has led us to not take gathering for granted. When we have a viable vaccine, enough people have safely taken it, and ‘it’s all go’, we’ll be rushing back to each other.”
What are some of the new features of ASD and other shows that we can expect to see as attendees to help maximize ROI on the events?
For this next show, we’ve revamped the layout of ASD and are moving into the newly built West Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center. We’ve been working very closely with the city of Las Vegas, trade show execs, as well as all our hospitality partners to make sure safety and security come first. In addition to that, we have a special section on the show floor dedicated to wellness suppliers due to the increase in consumer demand. We know our buyers will be excited to shop those products.
Additionally, we overhauled our educational programming so that our workshops and sessions are relevant and value-packed for all attendees, from brick-and-mortar to online sellers. And as always, our resources are FREE to all attendees. Most importantly, we’ve designed reconnection and community building into the overall show experience.
What does ASD specifically offer Amazon and online sellers?
Amazon and online sellers have been the fastest growing category at our trade show for the last three years. Because of this growth, we developed specific programming and even bought on a co-locater, The Prosper Show, an education seminar on how to grow Amazon businesses. Amazon FBA has exhibited at our show as well.
From a merchandise standpoint, ASD offers everything under the sun that you may want to sell. From seasonal merchandise to tried and true staples to things that fit current trends, we have products that fit into any category you’d want to sell. The beauty of sourcing products from ASD is that most of our vendors can have lower order minimums than other shows so a seller could test out a new product before heavily investing in it.
Also, if a seller wanted to start an Amazon specific brand, we have hundreds of manufacturers and suppliers that specialize in private label. Sellers can come to ASD to not only find products, but also find manufacturers with specialized capabilities like dropping shipping and end-to-end private label development.
COVID-19 has affected retail significantly. Based on your insight in the industry, do you see it slowly coming back, or coming back with a vengeance?
This is a fantastic question. In addition to surveying and talking to our people, one of our content strategists recently took a week to visit many of our retailers in person in Washington, Oregon, and California. What she found was that about ⅓ of the businesses had closed their doors, ⅓ were holding on, but she also found that ⅓ had or were now doing better than they were before COVID (in terms of revenue).
Lots of brick and mortar stores lost foot traffic. What did they do in covid to keep things running? Switch to more e-commerce?
The ones that were in the group of doing well and or better than before the pandemic had a few things in common:
- They were already in the process of making changes to how they operated their businesses. The were investing in e-commerce, changing the products they offered, etc.
- They were adaptable, once store closures hit, they sprung into high gear and got creative in ways to sell products to customers. They created e-commerce sites or they developed entirely new strategies around Facebook and Instagram.
- She also found that they made getting products easy. Home delivery, curbside/contactless pickup. They took customer service farther than ones that simply closed their doors.
And now, as stores reopen, we are seeing people move right back into retail. There’s actually an entirely new group of stores and store types opening. Main Streets are getting more diverse businesses. Home decor, food and lifestyle type stores are what we’re seeing most. And most of these new businesses also offer services in conjunction with their merchandise. So retail is coming back, it just has new rules of operating. E-commerce, having exclusive and rich store experiences, offering customer service that help customers feel comfortable shopping are all requirements for retailers looking to survive.
How do relationships built at in-person events compare to those made online?
You are relationships in person and you use digital to keep them going. There’s a new balance between online and offline brewing. You can’t have one without the other. So there isn’t a way to compare them. They’ve become complimentary.