Virtual Fair, Covid19 and You – A Guide
The covid19 pandemic posed a big challenge to collectors, as well as sellers, but it gave rise to a new concept of trade – the virtual fair.
First things first, it is perfectly normal to be scared of the ongoing (or any other for that matter) pandemic. We all keep asking ourselves to what extent it will affect our personal and professional lives. We can’t travel freely, see our relatives as often as we’d like, attend exhibitions, participate in live auctions, etc. In the information age that we live in, some of the problems related to distance can be somewhat surmounted thanks to the omnipresence of the internet. We can still stay safe, expand our knowledge and engage in our collecting hobbies while staying home.
Effects of pandemic
The pandemic has affected the other side of the table as well. Many brick-and-mortar shops are struggling because people are hesitant to leave their homes. One of the worst things is that the effects are more severe for small businesses rather than for large ones. Imagine running a small mom-and-pop shop. You never had the need to digitalize the inventory because you have enough foot traffic to keep you busy. Suddenly the traffic stops, now what? This is the situation many small businesses are in right now.
Since the first peak of the pandemic in 2020, many eyes have turned toward the “virtual fair” concept of exhibiting. Most trade organizations such as ILAB and IOBA have started their own virtual fairs. Apart from those, regular fairs are organized on a monthly basis by Getman’s Virtual Book & Paper Fairs. Virtual fairs both cut down on the costs for sellers for hauling inventory left and right and give the buyer a new experience. This sort of event gives a more “exclusive” vibe to the visitor than simply visiting your favorite store’s website. Exhibitors tend to post their newest items and give out discounts for older items. It’s a win-win situation for all. Also, virtual fair tickets are free of charge. Even if you leave empty-handed, you’ll be glad you haven’t spent so much money on gas and time on the road.
The typical seller prefers the “traditional” sales channels but this is a change that we should try to embrace. As for the future of the “virtual fair” concept, we can only wait and see. Will it be viable in the post-Covid19 era? Will it be popular because of nostalgia? Or will it be a distant memory such as face masks? Only time will tell.
Visit us at Getman’s Virtual Book & Paper fair on January 6th, 9 am-9 pm (EST) to see our newest items!
Illustration of the 1862 world fair taken from Atlas Obscura.