Goodness knows there has been a lot of change in our market this year! The team at The Baby Show has made the decision to move their exhibition online over the weekend of 30 October to 1 November. We spoke with Zoe Bonser, Show Director at Clarion Events, to hear more about how the digital environment is more important to brands and consumers than ever. Here’s what she told us…

You’ve had to make the decision to move the show online because of the pandemic. How has this come about and how does it feel?

We had been thinking for some time about how we continue to help and support new and expectant parents online in between our live shows.  Covid-19 only accelerated our activity around this.

As soon as the pandemic hit we were inundated with messages from visitors, exhibitors and our speakers about what we could do. It has been such an exciting time for us resulting in the creation of ‘The Baby Show Live @ Home’ digital series of events.

So far we have run two successful Facebook events which brought together over 20,000 parents to buy all their baby essentials and access the advice they needed. Following the feedback, we knew we had found something special and that we needed to evolve and create something that more closely replicated The Baby Show experience. We can’t wait to show you our new platform and app over the weekend of 30 October – 1 November, head over to our website to find out more!

How has communication between brands and retailers changed this year?

Communication has definitely changed and I feel it has been a time of openness and collaboration.

I have been really encouraged by the support we have received from brands as we have tried new things and experimented. We are thrilled to be working with new partners, starting conversations with brands we haven’t been able to work with for some time and of course deepen the relationships we already have as we have navigated this period of great uncertainty.

It hasn’t come without its challenges but I have been really encouraged by the willingness to talk through problems and find new solutions, I hope that continues.

How important is social media in our industry?

Social media has always played an important role in our sector and following the pandemic will play a greater role moving forwards.

Our recent research showed us that our media-savvy parents get most of their inspiration and information through social media. From comparing the feedback on the quality of products, seeing their favourite influencers and celebrities with the latest baby products, to feeling a sense of community and validation, social media is a critical tool in understanding and influencing the habits of your consumer.

However, that also comes with its challenges, the most important thing though is to make sure you prepared to respond accordingly, quickly and genuinely.

Do websites still play a part?

Websites will always be a shop window to your brand and play an important part in sharing information about your company, product ranges etc.

However, consumers want more. They want to be inspired, get interactive, feel part of a community, learn about what makes your brand tick and share their feedback. It is difficult to convey all of this through a website which is where social media and sophisticated digital platforms play a key role.

Do you think shows will stay online after the pandemic, or are online events here to stay?

Nothing will ever replace the need to touch, feel and try products as well as the excitement and enjoyment of live events.

However, now more than ever there is a place for online events that complement their live counterparts. We know there is a segment of our consumer demographic that may never have historically attended our live shows, a younger audience, that prefer to browse and shop online and make informed decisions using interactive demo’s, buying guides, community feedback and support. This opens up a great opportunity to attract and service a wider audience, bringing them what they want, when they want it, from the comfort of their own home.

What exciting plans do you have for the year ahead into 2021 (if you are happy to reveal them!)?

We cannot wait to get the green light to run our live shows in 2021 but until then we are super excited for all our brands, visitors and experts to experience our new digital event platform. 

With video functionality, enabling visitors to to book one-to-one appointments directly with brands as well as live chat, clever search functions, the ability for participants to create their own wish lists and event schedules as well as find new products and launches, we know The Baby Show Live @ Home will offer an incredible online experience. With exciting new collaborations in the pipeline for 2021 we look forward to sharing some new announcements with you soon!

Find out more...

Find out more about The Baby Show Live @ Home on their website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Zoe Bonser, The Baby Show

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