Whether a trading centre or idea network: the digital world offers a multitude of platforms on which sales and marketing measures from the analogue world can be put into action and even extended. Digital services like Nextrade or Conzoom Solutions from Messe Frankfurt offer companies in the B2B sector a variety of opportunities and points of contact for networking on even more channels, staying on the ball, getting inspired and completing order processes even more efficiently. The following article explains where the advantages lie and what opportunities arise for suppliers and retailers.

In many areas of life, the online world almost entirely replicates analogue life. This applies to retail, sales and marketing – and to the trade fair business, too. Many organisers are opting for digital trade fair apps or using virtual reality and augmented reality applications to attract potential customers from a distance. They accompany the visitor along their entire customer journey, all the way through to after sales. Digital applications therefore provide B2B companies with a multitude of new points of contact with their customers.

In addition to ongoing trade fair business, exhibitors can use digital extensions of the trade fair services to create added value, while at the same time addressing the digital affinity of the target groups. Indeed, many customers already like to use digital solutions to stay informed and also for shopping. This is manifesting itself in a change in visitor behaviour. Lots of companies are no longer ordering directly at the trade fair, as used to be the case. Instead, they are happy to shift this activity to the digital world, provided that the platforms required for this are in place and work without complications. One example from the area of sales is Nextrade, a comprehensive B2B marketplace for companies from the home & living sector.

Nextrade bundles digital order and data management

Nextrade is the first digital B2B platform in the home & living sector to bring together supply and demand from global trade fair participants 365 days a year, regardless of location and time. This means that exhibitors are available around the clock for order enquiries from their global trade fair customers. The platform enables retailers in turn to place orders with a large number of home & living brands centrally, efficiently and with a single log-in, and to call up all current images, price lists and product texts. Nextrade also enables suppliers to reach trading partners with whom they have not previously been in contact via trade fairs or other sales channels – both at home and abroad.

Nextrade, which is free to use, therefore opens up an incomparable wealth of advantages for retailers. For brick-and-mortar retailers especially, Nextrade serves as an extended shop counter for customer talks. If retailers receive requests about colour variations or product availability, they can check in real time which products are available and when, and inform the customer right away. Nextrade doesn’t just focus on orders. Large retailers in particular use the order and data platform specifically to retrieve marketing materials and supplier data efficiently from one system for sales at the PoS. Online shops also benefit from having central access to online content such as photos and videos.

The increasing heterogeneity of sales platforms has proven to be a disadvantage in the past, particularly for specialist retailers. Complex purchasing processes have often meant that standard product ranges could not be reordered in time, resulting in a loss of sales. For suppliers and retailers, the platform therefore provides uniform, digital data and order management using only one system, which enables a simple and efficient ordering process. With Nextrade, retailers can now access an ever-growing number of top brands in the home & living sector with one log-in, in one look and feel and from one system.

Suppliers have one hundred percent autonomy in selecting retailers and can assign individual access rights to their shops – from different price lists to individual access to product ranges. They can present their brands and products on Nextrade in their own individual shop, though functionality and usability remain the same for all shops. Currently there are 135 suppliers, 200,000 articles and retailers from 26 countries represented on Nextrade.

Services of consumer goods fairs bundled online

There is another digital platform supporting brick-and-mortar retailers with ideas and know-how. Thanks to Conzoom Solutions, Messe Frankfurt’s consumer goods trade fair portfolio is being transferred to the digital world. This service provides companies with support and inspiration in the fields of trends, marketing and creativity to boost their in-store business.

Conzoom Solutions links its content with the major consumer goods trade fairs Ambiente, Christmasworld, Creativeworld, Nordstil, Paperworld and Tendence. In this way, companies in the consumer goods sector receive information and marketing tools throughout the year, even outside of the trade fair times. For example, in the “Insights” area they can access reports and studies, management reports and trend presentations. They also have the opportunity to improve their skills via video and podcast. Tips and ideas for PoS design offer inspiration for displaying goods in shops. The overarching aim is to provide brick-and-mortar retailers with ideas and concrete recommendations on how to impress customers and boost sales.

More efficiency, more ideas

Digitalisation is driving the trade fair business forward: it keeps business relationships alive between events, virtually extending content and communication throughout the whole year – and also enables new target groups to be reached. Inspiration and information are possible over the year, simply from the comfort of your own desk. In this way, Messe Frankfurt is creating new channels and touchpoints that promote trade fairs all year round and is actively shaping the digital transformation of the industry.