Trade fairs, springboards to expand biz overseas

The export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has called local firms to participate more in physical and virtual trade fairs which can be springboards to expand business especially in overseas markets.

Rowena Mendoza, officer-in-charge-department manager at the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), said companies are able to meet target clients and future partners, improve skills and gain know-how, expand business networks, and generate or increase sales in attending trade fairs.

She said trade show formats they can join include physical, digital, and hybrid which involves a mix of physical and digital events.

“In two to three years (that) we were experiencing the crisis, we were able to learn the new ways of having trade fairs and introduce these trade show formats,” she added during the Usapang Exports session.

Mendoza said firms may choose to participate in any of these trade show formats which can provide them more business “opportunities and exposure”.

Key components of the trade show include exhibitions, conference and talks, seminars and webinars, workshops, forum, business matching and product presentation, she said.

“Next is business matching, physical (participation) is really good. Especially for food, it is difficult to negotiate with the buyer if they are not able to have a sensorial experience of what our products offer. Our buyers can easily understand the food (products) if they are able to taste, to touch or to smell so that’s how we did it,” she said in mixed English and Filipino.

Mendoza said it is also important that companies are ready to introduce their products in a presentation to achieve a “certain amount of information”.

“So it needs to be prepared and organized so our meeting will be very fruitful,” she said.

However, Mendoza said CITEM has also organized business-to-business (B2B) activities online for the local companies to reach their target clients even during the pandemic.

She said the main focus of a hybrid trade show model, on the other hand, is on the onsite element but clear benefits exist through the digital elements.

“In physical events, this is the food sampling, but we did it also online. How can this be? What we did, we managed to bring to the buyers the product before the online (trade show) so that they already have the product with them ready during conversations. And here in
food tasting or food sampling, we and the buyer comment together on the product so that is how we did it online,” she added.

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