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SOURCING at MAGIC Online’s Success Points to the Future of Trade Shows

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, Informa Markets’ SOURCING at MAGIC Online has proven the potential for and interest in digital B2B interactions.

Out of necessity for its audience’s safety, SOURCING at MAGIC went entirely online this fall. Even though the fashion sourcing community couldn’t come together in person, they turned up for the digital edition. As trade show opened on Sept. 15, more than 2,600 buyers and 700 exhibitors had registered to participate. As of press time, attendance has grown to more than 3,500 registered buyers.

“The response and support we’ve received to bringing SOURCING at MAGIC Online is everything we had hoped for and more,” said Andreu David, event director of SOURCING at MAGIC. “We are pleased to serve our community and provide a way for them to do business as our industry continues to face tough unparalleled challenges.”

Bringing the social element of the show to a remote experience, SOURCING at MAGIC Online hosted an opening night digital happy hour. For further networking, buyers can connect with exhibitors and partners through the SOURCING at MAGIC platform via direct messages and a smart matchmaking feature. A Community Page functions as a social media feed, enabling exhibiting and attending companies to share updates with all participants.

The educational component of physical SOURCING at MAGIC events is also being translated to an online audience. Through the length of the show, the organizers are running a program of discussions on a range of topics, including how to adjust businesses to navigate the new normal of Covid. Attendees are able to ask panelists questions and connect with them.

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Each week, Fashion for Profit Consulting owner Frances Harder and David broadcast a Q&A session on Zoom. These talks, which take place on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. PT, have covered topics including small business funding, how to cost products, and sourcing from Peru and Colombia. Harder has also recorded sessions that are aimed specifically at a startup or small to medium enterprise audience.

On Nov. 18, SOURCING at MAGIC Online hosted a Sustainability Summit in partnership with Aztex Network, which featured speakers who are innovating and driving fashion in an eco-friendlier direction.

“We are two months live now and we continue to experience consistent engagement and activity from both the buyers and exhibitors on our platform,” said David. “Both have found the intuitive design of the platform convenient and easy to use. We have received feedback from our customers who participated in other virtual and digital platforms that SOURCING at MAGIC Online is a far superior experience they’ve had.”

While Informa Markets is keen to get back to physical events when it is safe again, the benefits of online trade shows will change how the organizer approaches its event experience going forward.

“We are already discussing the next event for SOURCING at MAGIC Online and looking at ways to improve the experience for our customers and users,” said David. “As we look toward the future for SOURCING, we are reviewing how online can supplement and coexist as a hybrid model when we can get back to having physical events. I believe that digital will remain an important channel for our sourcing supply chain.”

There is still time to attend SOURCING at MAGIC, happening now through Dec. 15. Buyers can click here to register for free.