Companies are making the difficult, yet important decision to cancel or postpone major industry trade shows due to fears of the fast-spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). With more than 24 exhibitions and conferences canceling worldwide, including the International Home and Housewares Show, Food & Hotel Asia-Hotel Restaurant and Cafe Expo, Mobile World Congress, the $2.5 billion trillion trade show industry and their attendees are facing a hit. 

Yesterday, officials at New Hope, who plan the Natural Products Expo West trade show, announced that they will be postponing the show amid growing concerns of COVID-19. Threats of this coronavirus and the number of exhibitors and attendees that announced they would not attend triggered the decision to postpone the show indefinitely. New Hope communicated a 40 to 60 percent drop in attendance from previous years as a result of coronavirus fears. Buyers from retailers including HEB, Whole Foods Market, The Fresh Market, and others along with dozens of exhibitors made the decision to cancel their attendance. 

Rescheduling events can pose serious financial issues for organizers, exhibitors, and attendees. Organizers may not be able to book the same venue and can lose money they’ve spent on the event space and other services like catering and conference management. Exhibitors and attendees face losing money on booth deposits, registration, and travel arrangements. What’s more, there are the missed opportunities of making important business connections that so many companies rely on. 

Trade shows are an important touchpoint in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry to foster in-person connections between brands and retailers. With the cancellation of so many trade shows, smaller CPG brands are facing even more uncertainty as they rely on trade shows for retail connections as well as for the buyers who attend trade shows to find emerging brands. Amidst this time of travel restrictions and trade show cancellations, RangeMe will support the CPG industry by working with brands and buyers to keep bolstering the momentum of product discovery and support of emerging brands. RangeMe is the largest online platform that streamlines product discovery, sampling, and sourcing. During this time of uncertainty, RangeMe will continue to provide both brands and buyers the opportunity to connect.

For small business suppliers, RangeMe is working directly with retailers and their buyers who have been affected by canceled shows to facilitate product discovery online. For retail buyers, RangeMe is working with buyer teams to leverage the scope and scale of the platform to address your specific needs. Though we cannot control the disruption of our industry, and the energy and buzz that trade shows bring will be missed, product discovery won’t stop and we will work together to move the industry forward. 

Over the next few days, we will be providing more information and guidance on how to navigate uncontrollable disruptions in the CPG industry.

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