Go Where Your Retailers Are and Deliver Efficient Experiences with Envoy B2B
Chatting with Rumpl about the value of trade shows and creating better retailer interactions
We’ve all been curious about what impact the last few years will have on industry trade shows. Will they still exist post-pandemic, and if so, will they still be relevant? Will they maintain the same format? Will people attend?
The outdoor industry faced many challenges brought on by COVID-19 and has emerged largely successful on the other side. Brands and retailers adjusted to virtual events, worked with digital sales tools, and overcame a variety of impactful issues. But now, in-person business is happening again, and we are starting to see how trade shows have changed.
We sat down with Nate Clark, national sales manager at Rumpl, and Patrick O’Neil, Rumpl’s vice president of revenue, to discuss the relevance of trade shows, talk about their value, and review how Envoy B2B helps to make them a more successful experience.
Are Trade Shows Still Relevant?
The question of relevancy is central to the trade show debate. Do we truly need them to do business in the modern age? At Envoy B2B, we believe that, yes, trade shows are still 100 percent relevant to the way we all work. However, some of them might look a little different moving forward.
The big shows like Outdoor Retailer (OR), some say, have shifted away from the traditional buying format to a simpler marketing opportunity for brands. These national shows have become an opportunity to showcase goods to the press, a chance for brands to generate interest, and, if they’re well run, a place for retailers to find a few fresh lines to carry.
O’Neil summed it up nicely: “We’re making a brand statement at Outdoor Retailer. Our presence there is set up for PR; we’re not setting up for sales. We hardly even have a table for writing orders. Then you look at smaller shows put on by Grassroots Outdoor Alliance or Western Winter Sports Representatives Association—those are business shows. You’re there to do business.”
It’s those regional shows where many retailers get work done. “I generally operate under the assumption that reps are going to go where the revenue is coming from,” said Clark. “We had two rep agencies at OR, and the retailers just weren’t there for our reps to be doing business. So yes, we’re seeing a movement towards more local shows from the retail side of things.”
In today’s market, buyers want to show up, write as many orders as they can, and head home. For them, it’s all about efficiency. And the in-person experience available at regional shows helps make that happen. Virtual experiences or the big national shows just can’t match what happens at the regional level.
“We’ve all proven we can do the business digitally. We did that for two years, and we did it very, very well. We formed a lot of relationships,” Clark said. “But that in-person experience is still important—maybe more so now than it was before COVID. And we believe that, for the retailers, the most important business is happening at the regional shows.”
Envoy B2B Improves the Experience
That said, even though retailers can still use trade shows to be productive, certain tools make the experience better than others. Gone are the days of paper order sheets. Envoy B2B facilitates buying experiences in the digital age, so retailers can get in, get out, and get back to their stores.
“We had a couple of buyers that couldn’t make it to our meetings because no one else was able to close their shop at night,” said O’Neil. “It’s really hard for buyers to get away from their stores. The smaller regional shows like GOA are about doing business, and Envoy B2B allows efficiency in that process. It reduces the friction for retailers that are under pressure.”
Brands use Envoy B2B to head into meetings prepped and ready for their retailers. “We’ll go into meetings with a pre-set assortment because we’ve done our homework,” Clark said. “A lot of times we don’t have sell-through data for specialty accounts, but Envoy B2B allows us to go into those meetings prepared with an assortment, and then we can have a back-and-forth as we put together a solid order.”
Clark further explained how his company uses Envoy B2B at trade shows to drive efficiency and serve retailers’ needs: “We will actually pull up Envoy B2B, write an order right there, and connect the dots for accounts on the spot. It’s a really efficient way to get orders written, because we all know that once the retailer goes back home, ‘retail happens.’ So Envoy B2B is a really effective tool to be able to facilitate that efficiency for retailers, and ensure the orders are written and placed for us.”
Different Shows, Different Intents
So, to sum up: the trade show isn’t dead. In fact, it’s more important than ever. For brands, having a solid handle on your business goals will determine what shows are most valuable for you. If you’re looking to attract interest, connect with your peers, to grow brand-to-brand relationships, the big shows like OR are the place to be. If you want to go where the retailers are, write orders, and build the next season, you’ll need to prioritize the smaller, regional shows where business gets done.
“We’re using fewer line sheets than ever before at the small shows,” said Clark. “Everyone has their laptop out, and we’re all logged into Envoy B2B. We actively use Envoy at those smaller shows where the intent is to do business.”
Want to learn more about how Envoy B2B can support your retailers and create better experiences at trade shows? Get in touch, and we’d be happy to chat.