Trade fairs not attractive to businessmen any more
Company Activities
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  • 03-09-2011
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VietNamNet Bridge – While the number of trade fairs is increasing, the interest of businesses in trade fairs is decreasing. Businesses now refuse to attend many trade fairs, simply because the trade fairs do not bring the desired effects.

Trade fairs not attractive any more

“There are too many trade fairs,” the director of a company trading consumer goods told Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon when asked why he does not try to boost sales by attending trade fairs.

The businessman said that every year, his company receives invitations to attend at least 5-10 trade fairs in Vietnam and some others in foreign countries. However, he has reduced the presence of the company at trade fairs in recent years. The problem is that attending trade fairs  brings only modest business efficiency.

He said that many trade fairs were not organized in a professional way, and organizers did not make appropriate investments in the trade fairs and did not support enterprises in marketing activities. Many trade fairs were just organized to provide the places where enterprises could bring goods to sell. Meanwhile, the main purpose of enterprises when attending trade fairs is to introduce their products to customers and popularize their image.

“It takes us at least 30-40 million dong to attend a trade fair. Meanwhile, the efficiency is not as high as expected,” he said.

The director related that at many trade fairs, all kinds of enterprises could participate and all kinds of goods could be sold, including low quality Chinese goods. “For some sensitive reasons, I could not refuse to attend the trade fairs. But I am afraid that we will lose our prestige when selling our products at such trade fairs,” he said.

Cao Tien Vi, General Director of the Saigon Paper Company, who also participated in many trade fairs, said that the way of selling goods and approaching customers, especially urban customers, at trade fairs is no longer suitable or attractive .

Vi said that urban customers can make purchases through many channels. Besides traditional markets, they can go to supermarkets, manufacturers’ sales agents or convenience stores. “Nowadays, goods are not as scarce as they were in the past. Therefore, urban consumers have changed their tastes and habits of purchasing goods. Now very few consumers go to trade fairs to buy goods,” he said.

Nguyen Thanh Tung, Marketing Director of Vinacafe Bien Hoa, said that on one hand it is a good idea to advertise at trade fairs, but on the other hand,trade fair organizers need to reconsider the activities at the trade fairs. “The way of approaching and persuading consumers at trade fairs is outdated and will not attract consumers anymore,” he said.

“The activities of trade fairs have not changed in the last many years: enterprises launch promotion programs, invite people to try free trial products, organize games or music programs to attract attention from customers.

“These activities can be organized only in remote areas or rural markets, because they have become too familiar to urban consumers,” he noted.

Changes needed

Enterprises all have agreed that it is necessary to change the way trade fairs are organized. However, how to change remains an unanswered question.

In mid February 2011, the Business Association of Vietnamese High Quality Products decided to delay the organization of the 2011 Trade Fair of Vietnamese High Quality Products, because of the low number of enterprises which registered to attend the trade fair. Enterprises reasoned the financial difficulties to explain their decision not to attend the trade fair.

However, Vu Kim Hanh, the director of the Business Studies and Assistance Center (BSA), admitted that trade fairs have lost their attractiveness, since goods have been selling in many different channels, making it easier for consumers to access new products and services.

“We are trying to renovate activities of trade fairs, which requires great efforts from organizing boards and enterprises alike,” Hanh said.

Source: Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon

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