|'Virtual Show' brings suppliers, stores together|
|Written by Staff|
|Tuesday, 28 July 2009 09:56 AM America/New_York|
Magazine's major new, Internet-based initiative 'on the right track'
Retailers unable to attend this year's ICRS are being given the opportunity to take advantage of some of the specials presented during the event, as part of a major new industry initiative launched by Christian Retailing.
Twenty-four Denver exhibitors are taking part in the first Virtual Christian Retailing Show, which runs July 20-Aug. 31. Within the first couple of days, the virtual show had more than 500 visits.
The exhibitors are presenting products and extending some special offers to buyers online through the magazine's new Internet-based service. The six-week virtual show features Webinar training for stores, author and artist release parties and a new social networking forum through which retailers and suppliers can connect for fellowship, encouragement and business.
"It's no secret that the place of trade shows in our industry has been changing in recent years," said Christian Retailing Publisher Dave Condiff. "Suppliers and retailers alike are having to consider the cost of attending such events, but they still have a need to connect—and we want to help provide that opportunity."
The virtual show has been developed following a pilot program after The Gathering 2009, sponsored by the magazine in January. Eighty vendors recorded 60-second booth presentations at the Jan. 7-9 event, which were then posted online and viewed more than 5,200 times by more than 750 different visiting stores.
"The results confirmed for us that this was a great method for helping bring suppliers and stores together," Condiff said. "We believe that this is an innovative and cost-effective way forward for everyone."
Bill White, director of sales for NOTW (Not of This World) apparel, said the virtual show was "a very cool idea." "For its cost, it looks like a very good value," he said. "I'm excited about exploring it."
David Lingner—president of the apparel company Christian Outdoorsman, which did not exhibit at ICRS—said the virtual show was "on the right track."
"People can't afford to take the time or money to travel," he said. "Why should they when you can bring the show to them via the World Wide Web?"
Further virtual shows will follow the ICRS one, spotlighting seasonal and other special-focus selling opportunities. Stores will be able to access the information 24/7 at vcrs.christianretailing.com.