The whole deal with hybrid events has been a bit of ‘having your cake and eating it too’. On one hand, you offer people the buzz of in-person sessions and interaction. On the other, you let scores of people around the globe be a part of the activities from the comfort of their homes.

And that’s not all. You increase your attendance many folds while saving money on travel, catering, accommodation, and venue space. So it really is the best of both worlds. 

With life slowly returning to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world in 2020, the retail industry growth is starting to look up. Global retail spending is expected to reach $29 trillion by 2023

Given how the industry continues to grow rapidly, retail conferences offer a great way to meet with others in the industry, learn new strategies, and make new connections. Hybrid retail conferences offer all that and some more — with a wider, more global audience, a more diverse exchange of ideas, attending flexibility, and a lower cost.  

What is a hybrid retail conference?

A hybrid retail conference is an in-person retail conference that’s also broadcasted live to people who’d prefer to attend from the comfort of their homes. This makes sure that attendees have the freedom to attend the conference, whether or not they’d like to travel for it. 

To make your retail conference accessible to online attendees, all you really need is the right technology. This usually includes:

  1. A broadcasting service
  2. A virtual event platform

Let’s dive deeper into how a hybrid event will take your retail conference to the next level.

Benefits of hosting a hybrid retail conference

1. High attendance and global representation

retailer conference auditorium

The most prominent benefit of hosting a hybrid retail conference is that you’re able to offer unlimited seats for your event, without needing to book a bigger auditorium. Virtual event platforms make this possible. 

And if you have partners around the world, there’s no need to host your event in multiple countries around the world. With just one event, you can be heard across the world and bring a global audience together. That’s exactly what Semex did! 

On top of that, hybrid events are also more likely to be talked about and shared around. People attending from their laptop screens or mobile phones are more likely to share the event with other retailers or consumers who’d be interested in the conference.

2. Budget-friendly

Typically, a hybrid event will help you host about five to ten times your usual in-person audience – all at the small additional price of software. And you save a major chunk of money on accommodation, catering, venue size, and travel costs. 

3. Flexible to attend

While people in the vicinity of the venue prefer heading to the venue for more real, in-person interactions, several others don’t have that freedom. 

With rising travel costs and tighter schedules, it’s getting harder to make it to conferences. This includes both attendees and speakers! 

voice aid at a hybrid retailer conference

Moreover, several people with physical impairments struggle to get to the venue or would just prefer. Virtual event platforms with accessibility features account for those hard of hearing or visually impaired.

A virtual event platform offers much-needed flexibility in this regard. Here’s how.

  • It makes it easier for attendees to be a part of the conference from the comfort of their homes, wherever in the world they may be. All they need is a stable internet connection!
  • Attendees can network however they like. They’re much more in control of how they choose to network with those around them, with a host of different chat and meeting features. 
  • The sessions usually offer replays! That makes it easier for attendees to watch talks they’ve missed out on and replay their favorites.

4. More customizations and add-ons

The advantage of merging virtual platforms with your in-person event logistics is that virtual environments can be customized however you’d like. They offer tons of different design options, branding opportunities, add-ons, and several integrations.

You can turn the virtual environment into an exact match of your physical environment. 

an image of the lobby

You can also integrate it with your tech stack to automate workflows or add more functionality to it. Many companies integrate their virtual event platforms with their CRMs to automatically track leads coming from the event.

5. More valuable data analytics 

Measuring attendee count at a physical event is complicated. You can’t really tell how many people came in, attended a specific booth, or watched a certain session. The numbers at the end are a very rough estimate, at best. 

On the other hand, a hybrid retail conference has most of its attendance online. This makes data collection and analysis very easy! You can access a host of data points such as how many people attended the event, visited a specific booth, downloaded a resource, and so on.

6. Diversity 

an image of a diverse retailer conference

As a global audience makes its way to a retail conference, it brings diversity to the table. In this way, retailers can make connections from around the world and learn strategies that people in their local retailer communities haven’t even heard of. All this helps retailers around the world work together and progress together. 

Conclusion

Keeping all these benefits in mind, a hybrid retail conference can do wonders for your ROI. And it’s a great way to make more meaningful connections, exchange ideas around the world, and help the industry grow! It’s time you gave it a shot. 

 

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