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JOOR Passport Ushers in New Hybrid Era of Trade Shows

As trade shows make their in-person return, JOOR knows it has a great opportunity to bring apparel brands and retailers the best of both the physical and digital worlds.

The B2B digital wholesale platform launched JOOR Passport during the Covid-19 pandemic as businesses shuttered their doors and in-person trade shows shifted to digital. So far, 3,600 brands have participated in JOOR’s virtual booths, with 262,000 retailer attendees from 149 countries digitally purchasing 810,000 items.

But with physical events starting to come back, JOOR has integrated the online and in-person experience, supporting virtual selling via its desktop platform and physical selling through its mobile apps and personalized QR codes.

JOOR partnered with 17 trade shows in 2020 and has aligned with 23 trade shows so far in 2021, anticipating a total of 35 scheduled for the full year. Illustrating the breadth of JOOR’s network and high level of engagement, in recent months the platform has processed over $2 billion in wholesale gross merchandise value (GMV) per month.

JOOR hasn’t stopped iterating since the May 2020 Passport launch, with the B2B solution adding features based on attendee feedback. JOOR CEO Kristin Savilia said the company has layered on options including favoriting items with a “heart” so that users can easily revisit brands of interest, as well as the ability to browse a booth by hovering a mouse over it, so that digital users can essentially “hop booth to booth” and see the styles offered without committing to see the full showroom.

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Pictured: Kristin Savilia, CEO of Joor
Pictured: Kristin Savilia, CEO of JOOR JOOR

“We learned some of the practices that [buyers] missed about physical [shows] and did our best to bring them to digital,” Savilia told Fairchild Media Group, which includes WWD, FN and Beauty Inc., in addition to Sourcing Journal. “If you have to click into every booth to see what they carry, that does get time consuming. What we learned most of all was that some people thought digital events were temporary, and some people were resistant at first. You need to learn as a retailer and a brand how to be digital.”

When resortwear-focused trade show Cabana returned to in-person events in Miami on July 10-12, 2021, JOOR placed signs at each booth with QR codes customized by brand that attendees could scan to enter a personalized virtual booth on the platform. Over the three days at the Cabana show, 810 attendees scanned the codes, enabling these users to continue engaging online with the trade show’s digital component for an additional month through Aug. 12.

“It really allows for what these trade shows always wanted, which was extended engagement,” Savilia said. “You have to see so many booths that it’s hard to go in there and place all your orders on the spot. This now allows you to scan and ‘heart’ things that you like at every booth.”

Retailers can then see these favorited companies in one spot on their desktop and place orders later within Passport without making phone calls or writing emails.

JOOR powers Showcase Japan events

JOOR Passport also has been beneficial for events that either haven’t yet crossed back into the physical realm, or that have only been held online.

In partnership with The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), JOOR is presenting Showcase Japan from Aug. 23-Oct. 22, marking the second iteration of the virtual fashion trade show.

The fall event is designed to showcase more than 30 contemporary Japanese fashion brands to expose them to a global retail audience, jumping off the Spring 2021 show, which drew 10,300 retailers from almost 60 countries, according to Savilia. While the first event had a shared focus on both men’s and women’s fashion brands, the fall event places a greater emphasis on women’s wear.

The 30 selected brands cover six categories in accordance with global fashion trends, according to Tetsutaro Shimogasa, director of e-commerce platform business division in digital marketing at JETRO—sustainability, diversity, femininity, Japanese craftsmanship, local (brands that are produced locally or with material sourced locally) and stay at home.

“The key here is JETRO knows the Japanese market better than us. We really rely on them for the curation and how to work in the market,” Savilia said. “They have a translator between us and the brands that we’ve onboarded. They’ve been integral, and it’s crazy to enter any country and not have a partner like this. They run frontline for us in onboarding and getting these brands up and running, and then share feedback during and after the events.”

With the partnership, JOOR brings the participating brands in front of potential buyers who otherwise would not be traveling to Japan, or even know they exist.

“It is difficult for Japanese small- and medium-sized designer brands to do business overseas, especially once the extended season of physical exhibitions was cancelled due to Covid-19,” Shimogasa told Fairchild Media Group. “We have received positive feedback from Japanese brands, including comments that “contact with buyers has become more efficient” and “JOOR has helped them to develop new buyers.”

Savilia said that in the end, it’s about supporting the growth of the participating designers. “Every order placed for the spring event was from outside of Japan, so our mutual goal of increasing global reach was achieved for sure.”

JOOR and JETRO are set to produce a third Showcase Japan event in January, which will lean heavily on showcasing men’s wear.

With the JETRO partnership in hand, JOOR looks forward to the continued expansion of JOOR Passport. The platform will exclusively power 14 global fashion events for the Autumn/Winter 2021 season and will also continue to host JOOR Marketplace events available 365 days a year, including The Accessory Collective, Destination Italy, and the elevated contemporary marketplace JOOR Showcase.

Learn more about JOOR Passport and Showcase Japan here.