The global village is once again getting a little smaller thanks to a new Internet tool that gives companies access to overseas markets without leaving the country.
Virtual trade shows allow companies in one country to introduce their products overseas, specifically in Asia, and deal directly to interested buyers. The two sides can discuss the product, see if there is genuine interest, and get a sense if the product has a chance in the target market.
“Virtual trade shows allow for a direct relationship to be established before deciding to travel over to the country,” said Ann Kavanagh an official with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada who works overseas and often sets up virtual trade shows for interested Canadian companies.
For the virtual trade show to be successful, much of the work needs to be done ahead of time, said Kavanagh.
“We make sure we match the companies really well first,” she said.
Along with a good match, getting the product to the potential buyer so they have a chance to actually see and taste or feel it while the trade show is going on is critical.
Even if you don’t get a sale, virtual trade shows can be useful for getting product feedback, says Kavanagh. A foreign perspective is important when a company decides to expand, especially when it is unable to visit the country.
Virtual trade shows have been around for only four years, but are expected to grow in popularity.
After renovations are complete at the Food Development Centre in Portage la Prairie there will be facilities where virtual trade shows can take place, said Robin McRae from FDC.
“We are adding a new boardroom with some more training space and will have video conferencing capacities so we will be able to host meetings internationally,” said McRae.
“Virtualtradeshows allowforadirect relationshiptobe establishedbefore decidingtotravel overtothecountry.”
– ANN KAVANAGH