Digital showrooms pose a threat to traditional trade shows

By our News Team | 2021

Industries such as bathroom and kitchen manufacturers are pivoting to digital showrooms to reach their key audiences.

Trade shows is a traditionally conservative industry. It is one that, in Japan at least, according to the Financial Times, has traditionally depended on face-to-face interactions and fax machines to place orders. 

However, major changes are taking place as manufacturers respond to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

Virtual platforms at trade shows

For instance, Japanese maker of bathroom and kitchen fixtures, fittings and building materials, LIXIL, is switching to digital showrooms. This is in the expectation that most of its post-Covid customers will use virtual platforms.

For trade shows, that has meant the introduction of online video sessions with customers and subsequent investment in technology such as augmented reality. In the case of LIXIL, for example, it opted not to attend a major two-week trade show in Germany and instead invest the money it would have spent there in creating a virtual platform called GROHE X. This falls under the auspice of its GROHE brand and has the advantage of being accessible at any time.

Company reaps the benefits

With 70,000 views in the first week following its launch and 4,000 appointments with customers around the world – including architects, designers and plumbers – GROHE X has been “a massive game-changer”, says a LIXIL regional marketing leader.

Use of 3D images and augmented reality in digital showrooms enables customers to explore a wider variety of kitchen and toilet designs than would be available in a physical showroom. 

“This type of platform [GROHE X] is very efficient, much faster, much more scalable and more tailored than a traditional trade show,” said Gerhard Sturm, MENA Marketing Leader at LIXIL.

Source: Financial Times