When you think of eCommerce, the first words that come to mind probably wouldn’t be “human connections” or “networking.”
Yet, these two concepts are integral to your business success online. If you don’t connect with customers, suppliers, and other like-minded professionals, you’ll miss out on lucrative business opportunities in a market that’s projected to be worth $8.1 trillion by 2026.
Luckily, networking events provide a platform for you to establish these important human connections. So if you’re wondering whether these events are worth it, keep reading. This article reveals the top benefits of attending networking events, whether offline or online.
1. Raises brand awareness
One of the biggest benefits of attending networking events is this: they provide an excellent opportunity to build brand awareness. Over 46% of US consumers are willing to pay more for a trusted brand. But they can’t trust a brand if they don’t know about it, right?
At virtual or in-person events, you can introduce potential customers to your eCommerce brand and kickstart the process of turning these attendees into loyal customers.
In in-person events, in particular, organizers typically provide spaces businesses can use to set up booths and showcase their products or services. Something like this:
You just need to invite people to your booth to check out your offerings and let them know more about your brand. Create a digital business card to share with people. The thing about digital cards is that recipients don’t have to spend a lot of time manually inputting your contact details. Be sure that the phone number provided goes to your cloud phone system rather than your personal phone.
With just a few clicks, your recipient can have your contact details. Also, both in offline and online events, there are typically speaker slots business representatives can fill to position their eCommerce brands as authorities in their respective fields. By taking advantage of this, you can increase your brand’s exposure.
Networking events aren’t just great for reaching new customers.
When you attend networking events, you can engage the following like-minded people who may not have been aware of its existence:
Industry experts, and so on.
These are great additions to your network who can contribute to your eCommerce success. We’ll talk more about how they can help you later.
Even if the relationships you build don’t produce anything meaningful directly, you can benefit from these individuals’ contacts via referrals.
You can also raise brand awareness indirectly when you attend networking events. By leveraging the power of social media, for instance, you can live-stream the in-person events you attend, upload video reviews by happy customers who purchased from you in person, and so on. If you attended a virtual networking event, you can post video snippets of your talk or your interactions with fellow attendees.
Either way, you can create awareness for your eCommerce brand not just locally but internationally as well.
2. Keeps you informed about competitors and eCommerce trends to stay competitive
Attending eCommerce events can also help your business stay competitive.
Your competitors will likely attend the same events, whether online or offline. After all, like you, they stand to gain eCommerce networking event benefits.
So, when you attend eCommerce conferences, you can learn about the competition your business is up against. In particular, you can get a front-row seat to:
the sales tactics they use
how they position their brands
how they court potential partners and forge valuable connections; and
their latest offerings
This window into your competitors’ strategies can provide fresh ideas you might not have considered before. Additionally, you can use the information you gather to see how your eCommerce business measures up and identify areas where you (or they) have a competitive advantage.
But that’s not all. When you attend events, you get access to the same information and professional relationships your competitors have.
Your attendance puts you within earshot of experts who may know about eCommerce trends. You’ll be able to keep abreast of where your industry is headed, learn from the failures and successes of similar businesses highlighted, and more. Additionally, you can rub shoulders and exchange ideas with future allies such as influencers, who may at the moment have a relationship with your competitors.
In essence, when you attend networking events, you don’t only ensure that your eCommerce business maintains parity with the competition. You position it to seize the advantage.
3. Allows you to explore new product offerings
Another of the key benefits of attending networking events is the opportunity to explore new product offerings.
Expanding your eCommerce business’s product range is not only an inevitable reality of business but also a sound diversification strategy. With the strategy, you can expand into new markets and, ultimately, increase your business’s bottom line.
Attending an eCommerce networking event benefits your business by putting it in contact with the manufacturers of products it could eventually carry. At in-person events, in particular, manufacturers are even happy to let you try out their products, since you could be a potential distributor. This in-the-flesh access can help you make informed decisions as to whether they’ll be a great fit with your customers.
There’s another side to this benefit.
Yes, expanding your product line can have positive effects on your business, but, if done wrong, it can also prove disastrous for your brand.
If you’re mulling over how your target audience will receive your new products, networking events provide the perfect opportunity to gauge interest. You can showcase these new product offerings in limited quantities and get direct feedback from your customers. Depending on whether or not you make sales, you can decide to move forward with the products or scrap them for other options.
4. Helps you increase sales
Ultimately, you’re running an eCommerce business to make sales and profit. Networking events can facilitate this goal by providing an environment where your target audience and products come together.
You might have a better shot at increasing sales via offline events, though. Statistics on time management show that 39% of people multitask during virtual meetings so you might not get your audience’s full attention when you’re promoting your products online. In an offline event, on the other hand, you can set up a booth where people can try out your products. That kind of engagement ensures you get your potential customers’ undivided attention.
Whether you choose the offline or online route, though, you’re more likely to generate sales in these events than outside. The reason is that many of the people in the event came specifically to learn about eCommerce products and services. So if you successfully communicate your product’s benefits to these individuals, they could place orders with you on the spot.
It’s also worth mentioning that the above three benefits of attending networking events we already discussed feed into this one. By attending networking events, you can raise brand awareness, know about your competitors and eCommerce trends to stay competitive, and explore new products to expand your offerings. All these can, ultimately, help you boost eCommerce sales.
If you want to grow your online business, you can’t afford to miss out on the eCommerce networking event benefits discussed in this article.
Attending events lets you raise brand awareness, letting prospective customers and other relevant parties get to know your business. When you’re present at the same event as your competitors, you can gather intel on them and use this data to your advantage. Expanding your product offerings is also easier because you can trial and showcase potential products in these events. Ultimately, you can increase sales.
The bottom line: Don’t hesitate to attend eCommerce networking events. You only have a lot to gain by doing so.