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[2023 edition] Thorough comparison of 5 recommended online exhibition platforms! Introducing the advantages and disadvantages and how to choose

In recent years, online exhibitions, where customers can participate regardless of location, are attracting attention. Many exhibiting companies are also considering holding online exhibitions because they can expect to increase sales while keeping costs down. However, there are many platforms for online exhibitions, and it is often difficult to decide which one to choose.

Therefore, in this article, we will introduce an overview of online exhibitions, source methods, advantages and disadvantages, and 5 recommended online exhibition platforms.

Table of contents

What is an online exhibition platform?

An online exhibition platform is a platform that conducts web conferences and video distribution in a VR space to create opportunities to advertise your company’s products and acquire customers. In place of conventional face-to-face exhibitions and events, exhibitors and visitors can exchange information and conduct business negotiations by providing exhibition booths and content on the web. The online exhibition platform mainly has the following functions:

  • Setting up a virtual booth
  • Distribution of webinars and presentation videos
  • Chat function with visitors
  • Registration form function
  • Action log analysis function
  • Online payment function

By introducing an online exhibition platform, companies can expect benefits such as reduced exhibition costs, expanded reach, and new customer acquisition.

How to exhibit on the online exhibition platform

There are two ways to exhibit on the online exhibition platform.

  • Joint exhibition type online exhibition
  • Self-contained online exhibition

I will explain each.

Joint exhibition type online exhibition

A joint exhibition type online exhibition refers to an online exhibition in which multiple companies exhibit jointly. Each company will set up its own virtual booth as a place to promote its products and services, just like in conventional real-world exhibitions. Joint-exhibition type online exhibitions are generally attended by companies that follow a specific industry or theme. Affiliated companies can gather together to promote new products, services, and technical information to visitors. In addition, collaborations and business matching between participating companies may take place.

Self-contained online exhibition

A self-contained online exhibition is an online exhibition held independently by a specific company. In order for companies to introduce their products and services, an independent online environment is built, and customers and prospective customers are invited to transmit information and conduct business negotiations. The appeal of the self-contained online exhibition is that you can appeal your products in your own color. In addition, since the timing and content can be flexibly adjusted, exhibitions can be held according to corporate strategies. On the other hand, it is important to understand that the cost and effort required from planning to operation are limited, and the ability to attract customers is limited.

Benefits of exhibiting on the online exhibition platform

There are three advantages to exhibiting on the online exhibition platform.

  • You can attract customers regardless of place or time
  • Reduce exhibition costs
  • Visitor analysis is possible

I will explain each.

You can attract customers regardless of place or time

The first benefit is that you can attract customers regardless of location or time. Online exhibitions can be attended from anywhere as long as the internet environment is in place. In addition, it is not affected by the weather, so there is no need to cancel or postpone even in bad weather. From the visitor’s point of view, it will be very convenient to be able to visit the booth many times during the period. The biggest advantage of online exhibitions is that they are not restricted by location or time.

Reduce exhibition costs

The second advantage is that the exhibition cost can be reduced. Face-to-face exhibitions incur various expenses such as venue costs, labor costs on the day, booth decoration costs and transportation costs, but online exhibitions can reduce costs. Online exhibitions also incur platform usage fees, virtual booth design costs, webinar and presentation production costs, and advertising costs. However, online exhibitions tend to cost less than traditional face-to-face exhibitions, so overall exhibition costs can be expected to be reduced.

Visitor analysis is possible

The third advantage is the ability to analyze visitors. The online exhibition will be held online from the visitor’s participation application. Therefore, data such as visitor behavior history can be obtained accurately. At the application stage, you can collect data on what kind of services you are interested in, so it is possible to reflect it in ingenuity to attract people to the booth and change the route. Including questionnaires for participants, you can analyze the page paths and needs of prospective customers with data, so it will be useful for future marketing.

Disadvantages of Exhibiting on Online Exhibition Platforms

There are three disadvantages to exhibiting on an online exhibition platform.

  • There is a product orientation and unsuitability
  • Content production costs
  • stays tend to be short

I will explain each.

There is a product orientation and unsuitability

One of the disadvantages is that the products are unsuitable. At online exhibitions, products and services can be introduced using videos, etc., in VR, 3D, etc. Therefore, the visual appeal can fully appeal to visitors. However, it is not possible to actually pick up and touch the product, or eat and taste the product. It can be said that ingenuity is necessary when holding an online exhibition for food, cosmetics, etc., where the appeal of taste, smell, touch, etc. is the decisive factor. Let’s understand that follow-up is necessary, such as sending a sample at a later date.

Content production costs

The second disadvantage is the cost of creating content. Online exhibitions can be operated at a relatively low cost, but production costs for distribution videos and presentations are required. The first time will likely cost content production costs and labor costs. Therefore, some costs must be anticipated. However, once content is created, it is highly likely that it can be used repeatedly.

stays tend to be short

The third disadvantage is that the stay tends to be short. The strength of online exhibitions is that you can participate anytime, anywhere on the Internet, but on the other hand, you need to be careful that it is easy to leave. At a face-to-face exhibition, it takes half a day to a full day to visit the booths, and if there is a booth that catches your eye, customers may take a detour. However, at a face-to-face exhibition, it is highly likely that you will go straight to the booth you want and then go straight home. For this reason, online exhibitions need to be presented in a way that will catch the eye of visitors and be devised so that they do not get bored.

How to choose an online exhibition platform

There are three main things to consider when choosing an online exhibition platform:

  • scale of the platform
  • Connectivity with external systems
  • cost of operation

I will explain each.

scale of the platform

The first choice is the size of the platform. Also pay attention to the maximum number of people who can participate in the event and the maximum number of booths that can be exhibited. Some platforms specialize in self-hosted exhibitions, while others specialize in large-scale events. When you host a large-scale exhibition, you need a platform that can support many attendees at the same time. On the other hand, smaller exhibitions may not require such a large platform. Choose one that fits your budget and purpose.

Connectivity with external systems

The second method of selection is compatibility with external systems. For example, cooperation with web conferencing tools such as Zoom, and cooperation with video distribution services such as YouTube. Also, if you want to manage visitor information efficiently, check if it can be linked with MA tools. MA tools have the advantage of automating marketing activities such as automatic sending of emails and behavioral analysis. It is a good idea to check in advance what kind of external tools the platform you are considering works with.

cost of operation

The third option is the operating costs. Operating costs generally include platform license costs, monthly usage fees, customization costs, support costs, etc. It’s important to consider the operational costs involved holistically and choose a platform that fits your company’s needs and budget. Also, by weighing and comparing platform functions, quality, and operating costs in a well-balanced manner, you will be able to select the most suitable platform.

5 Recommended Online Exhibition Platforms

EventHub

EventHub is an online exhibition platform that enables companies and organizations to host effective virtual events. It has an easy-to-use interface and a wide range of features. For example, there are various functions such as booth customization, chat function for business negotiation, viewing of live sessions and on-demand content, real-time analytics, etc. In addition, it is also possible to link with external systems, and one of the attractions is that data can be linked smoothly with CRM and MA tools.

Features of EventHub

  • Customizable design
  • Data linkage with CRM and MA tools
  • Ability to analyze customer behavior history

Airmesse

Airmesse is an online exhibition platform that allows companies and organizations to hold exhibitions using 3D VR technology. We have a wide variety of plans that support various formats such as online briefings, exhibitions, and office tours. It is recommended for companies that want to promote their products and services in 3D, as even small parts from manufacturers can be enlarged and displayed to customers using unique VR technology.

Features of Airmesse

  • Production and management support for exhibitions
  • 3DVR technology can reproduce our own products
  • Customizable polling/buying functionality

WebEXPO Master

WebEXPO Master is a platform that provides an effective online exhibition experience. Using 3D virtual space, you can reproduce the atmosphere of a real exhibition. It has a booth layout pattern that can be changed at any time to suit your needs. Since it can be linked with AI chatbot tools and web conferencing systems, it will be possible to move smoothly from exhibitions to business negotiations.

Features of WebEXPO Master

  • Works with web conferencing tools and chatbots
  • The exhibition booth can be changed freely
  • From large scale to small scale

Exhibition as it is

As It Is Exhibition is Sony Group’s online exhibition platform. You can display 3D virtual events on your web browser and hold exhibitions. Although it is possible to realize a realistic venue space that is comparable to a real exhibition hall, we have applied our own processing so that it can be viewed on smartphones and PCs with a small amount of memory. Since it supports various exhibitions from large to small, it can be used in a wide range of applications.

Features of the exhibition as it is

  • Hybrid holding of face-to-face and virtual is also possible
  • 3D virtual event exhibition can be held
  • Dashboard function that allows you to check the number of visitors and registered members at a glance

META BOOTH

META BOOTH is a platform that utilizes its own 3D space, 2D space, VR, and AR technology to create an online exhibition full of originality. A metaverse space where exhibitors and visitors can communicate realistically through avatars can be realized, and exhibitions with a high degree of freedom can be held. Since various exhibition samples are prepared, it will be possible to hold an exhibition in a short period of time.

Features of META BOOTH

  • 2D, 3D, etc. can be selected according to the business
  • customizable design
  • Extensive selection of exhibition samples

summary

In this article, we introduced an overview of online exhibitions, source methods, advantages and disadvantages, and 5 recommended online exhibition platforms. Online exhibitions have various advantages, such as being able to reduce costs compared to face-to-face exhibitions and being able to obtain information about visitors. When choosing an online exhibition platform, consider the size and budget and choose the one that suits your company. Use this article as a guide to take advantage of online exhibition platforms and accelerate your business growth.

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