International Market Centers’ (IMC) first-ever High Point Virtual Market Experience ended on a high note last week with record engagement on the IMC High Point Market website, generated by thousands tuning in for educational content and using product discovery tools. Anecdotally, exhibitors also reported strong lead generation as well as order writing during the three-week-long event.
“The Virtual Market experience delivered on IMC’s promise of content, community and connections for the home furnishings industry during a time of market disruption,” says Bob Maricich, CEO of IMC. “Positive feedback from buyers and suppliers, as well as strong web analytics for IMCHighPointMarket.com showed how hungry people were for information and inspiration during a time of social distancing.”
Strong Participation in Virtual Market Activities
During the three-week Virtual Market Experience, thousands tuned into the IMC High Point Market website to experience educational and inspirational programming including 27 content-rich webinars; IMC’s first-ever Virtual Showhouse; IMC’s Market Snapshot and TrendWatch programs; the Market Preview; an exhibitor product showcase; trade publication previews; and an Instagram Takeover with industry influencers. In total, IMC delivered marketing value to 373 of its High Point Market customers through programming and product discovery tools.
Robust participation led to deep engagement across the IMC High Point Market website and IMC DesignOn High Point Market social media platforms with triple and quadruple percentage gains in almost every key online category. The website experienced year-over-year increases in users (+634 percent); pageviews (+1,745 percent); and sessions (+765 percent). The Facebook page had month-over-month increases in impressions (+560%) and engagement (+432%) and Instagram engagement (+123%) also increased.
Zuo Modern, an IMC tenant who participated in the Virtual Market through Catalog Connexion and the Exhibitor Showcase, noted a 27-percent increase in web traffic, saw 53 new customer applications in a five-day span, and identified IMC as a top-5 traffic driver to its website. “We have benefited tremendously from IMC’s digital initiatives. It is nice to know that they are overcoming the circumstances to bringing new beneficial technology and talent to the table,” notes Zuo Modern’s CEO Luis Ruesga.
Product Discovery Tool Catalog Connexion Sees Strong Numbers
As an added benefit of the Virtual Market experience, retailers and designers accessed new and best-selling products through Catalog Connexion, a keyword-searchable catalog library powered by IMC_di, IMC’s Digital Innovation division. Both content and engagement were robust during the event, with more than 550 vendor catalogs – representing 54,234 pages of products – available for browsing.
By the end of the event, 13,840 visitors viewed a total of 396,343 catalog pages. IMC tenants with the highest number of catalog page views were Eurostyle, A&B Home, Bungalow Five, Chelsea House, Adriana Hoyos Furnishings, Cyan Design, Simply Amish, Alder & Tweed, Coast to Coast Imports, Phillips Collection and Global Views.
Beyond browsing, Catalog Connexions also enabled retailers and designers to submit requests for product information. Some 422 leads were generated, with requests coming from 32 states and four countries – Canada, Bolivia, Honduras and England.
Designer Dana Roeser of Dana Roeser Interior Design in Winnetka, Ill. used Catalog Connection to request product information. “I found Catalog Connexion very easy to use and I loved being able to see the vendors and their products to jog my memory,” she explains. “These digital tools obviously can’t replace physical markets, but they are a good resource.”
While IMC’s High Point Virtual Market Experience has concluded its live presentations, recordings of all webinars are posted online. The Catalog Connexion also is still accessible through the website and will remain so until the Fall 2020 High Point Market, which is scheduled to be held this coming October 13 to 21.
“We are grateful for everyone who participated in the successful debut of IMC’s High Point Virtual Market Experience,” Maricich remarks. “Until we can meet again in person in High Point, we will keep the materials posted to and easily accessible on our website.”