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Virtual Petindex

"A new type of marketing opportunity"

Hundreds of visitors logged on to the UK's first virtual trade show, Virtual Petindex, over its two live days in June. The online event, organised by the Pet Industry Federation, attracted considerable attention in other countries too.
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Visitors had the opportunity to browse over 60 stands from the UK and overseas, from countries such as Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Switzerland. They could also watch webinars in the 'auditorium', which was packed throughout the live show days with talks, panel discussions and grooming demonstrations. Visitors were able to continue accessing the Virtual Petindex platform to browse stands and watch the webinars for the next 30 days. Exhibitors could therefore continue to benefit from being on the platform even though the live show had ended.

"A huge learning curve"

In addition, each exhibitor also received a detailed breakdown of the visitors to their stand over the course of the live event, plus a full report and visitor analysis tailored to their stand. Nigel Baker, chief executive of the Pet Industry Federation (PIF), said: "We have been really pleased with the success of Virtual Petindex and the support shown for the event by exhibitors, who threw their weight behind this inaugural trade show. The experience has been a huge learning curve for us as well as the exhibitors, and although it was not without some teething issues, the cost-effectiveness of this type of show, and the detailed information gained from visitors to the show will ensure that the virtual trade show has a strong future."Baker stressed that there are clear differences between a virtual trade show and a traditional one, and whilst a virtual trade show can't replace many of the networking and social opportunities that a traditional show does, he believes that a virtual show can offer a new type of marketing opportunity, with an excellent return on investment. Many exhibitors believe this too and have already confirmed that they would like to take part in another event.Peter Roy of Natures Menu said: "Obviously we were disappointed not to have a face conference, but given the circumstances I thought the event went well. It was my first virtual conference, but probably not my last. We had over 350 requests for information, many from new customers. We are going through the opportunities now, and have already opened up 8 new stores and over 20 freezer deals so far with more to follow, I'm sure."Mark Hirschel from Hownd said: "Two thumbs up to the team at PIF for successfully creating the UK's first virtual pet trade event. It can't be easy being the first ones to jump into something so new and there's no doubt that the world of virtual shows is here to stay and will only get better. We…
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