Example of a virtual chat room on the V-Unite virtual events platform

3 Ways Your Organization Can Win With Virtual Events

Virtual events have upgraded the way organizations are able to communicate with clients, customers, and association members, and as the world continues to emerge from the pandemic of 2020, it has become even clearer that virtual events are here to stay.

Cracking the code to hosting events online can be challenging. There are so many questions: What type of platform do you need? What technology or applications should you include? What are the benefits? Can you even customize an online event to suit your needs? And how can you make it all work? What can you do to help keep everyone engaged and fully active in what is going on during the event?

Cut all these worries down by making sure key solutions are put in place before the launch date of your event.

Overview:

  1. Create memorable experiences
  2. Bring the fun to engagement and networking
  3. Let past events inspire your future content

 

1. Create memorable experiences

Organizations can host several types of events online, be it a marketplace and trade show for products and services, college fairs, or even training sessions and recruitment and interview preparation for prospective employees.

No matter the type of event, it is important to ensure the event is also a memorable and enjoyable experience. Don’t leave it up to chance with the hope that memorable experiences will evolve on their own. Create those moments as part of your event!

Entrance to Virtual Conference - V-Unite virtual events platform

Use engaging videos and polls to get attendees talking. Post interesting event facts on virtual display boards and in chat rooms. No one likes to miss out on a good thing, so include exclusive event perks and giveaways. Use the positives of FOMO (fear of missing out) to your organization's advantage - limit the availability of a few key giveaways and display a countdown clock during your online event so attendees feel even more motivated to claim a particular freebie before they're all gone!

Learning and development remains a powerful feature for any event. Incorporate visual and informative material that event attendees can access and download for future use. Creating memorable experiences also comes from setting the stage for your entire event. Host your event on a virtual events platform that will allow you to create customized and interactive virtual spaces that attendees can explore. See what a customized virtual environment looks like for yourself!

2. Bring the fun to Engagement and Networking

Creating opportunities for engagement and networking during an online event is important. But what can sometimes be overlooked is giving a boost to engagement and networking opportunities by including a little fun.

Social media integration on V-Unite platform

2.i. Amplify event conversations with social media integration

Host your virtual event on a platform that will allow integration with your preferred social media networks. Not only can you use social media to generate conversations around your organization, you can also use your social media network to generate excitement for your virtual event; feeding audiences’ interest in the event topics, as well as in the event host and invited speakers. By skillfully using social media networks, you can put in the necessary groundwork that will help you to build a community around your virtual event before the event launch date.

Once you have integrated your social media networks with the virtual events platform, you can keep the conversation going on social media networks by leveraging your event community during the virtual event! Create event hashtags, and unique event gifs and images so attendees can get involved in the social media conversation by sharing event gifs and images and by using your event hashtags to tag what they have shared. Include polls and roundups about popular moments and sessions when sharing live content from your event. Post shout-outs to highlight sponsors and do the same for attendees who have won quizzes and prizes. And most definitely, re-share relevant content from event attendees.

Combined, these tips will allow your event community to connect and engage in event conversations across multiple online spaces, while allowing you to tap into ways to amplify key conversations around your online event!

2.ii. Keep event fatigue at bay with gamification

Here is another major point to consider: it can become challenging for attendees to maintain focus during virtual events, especially after a few hours. Infusing dashes of fun into your virtual event is an important way to combat event fatigue and is something you absolutely need to plan for. Event gamification is an excellent way to revive attendees and keep them engaged throughout your event, so be sure to host your event on a virtual events platform that has capabilities for gamification.

Fun on V-Unite virtual events platform with polls, quizzes and prizes

To maintain interest during your virtual event, you could include interactive moments for question-and-answer sessions where attendees can talk to each other and to event speakers. Q&A sessions could even include event trivia questions displayed on a score board and exclusive event prizes for attendees who answer questions correctly.

2.iii. The power of avatars as part of gamification

Attendee avatars is another engaging feature of event gamification. In addition to allowing attendees to choose and refine the look of their avatars for the event, you can also allow attendees to level-up and customize their avatars even further by winning event prizes, or by gaining bonus features as rewards for purchasing certain items if you intend to include retail opportunities as part of the event. To encourage more engagement, you can go the extra step by making avatar photos available to attendees so they can share the images on social media!

2.iv. Expand engagement and networking with custom virtual event environments

There are other things you can do to bring the fun to engagement and networking. Create customized spaces for meet-and-greets and professional networking. These spaces could be a virtual café, a cocktail lounge, or any virtual environment you choose. You could also allow attendees to create or upload digital business cards that they can exchange with ease in a virtual world. Again, you will need to ensure you find a virtual events platform that will make it possible for you to customize the virtual spaces for your event and allow you to really enhance opportunities for networking and engagement.

Ultimately, by incorporating the right tools and strategies to include fun and counteract event fatigue, you will be able to facilitate two key things for your event: opportunities where attendees can expand discussions on topics they have just learned; and openings for breaks and chats to enable online attendees to fuel their interest and stay motivated for the next session.

3. Let past events inspire your future content

Virtual events are a treasure trove for content! From evergreen content, blogs, whitepapers and social media posts, the end of your virtual event is where new content begins. Use your past events as an inspiration for creating future content.

Popular event sessions and attendee feedback about those sessions are good sources for topics for blogs and social media posts. A comparative review of your most successful event with one that was not quite as successful could become an interesting blog or whitepaper. Sharing reviews from event speakers and select attendees can be another layer of content that offers further insight into the overall event experience.

Producing content based on past events will extend the conversation around those events and will also help to generate audience interest in events to come. Furthermore, creating feature content of this nature is ideal for organizations seeking to position themselves as thought-leaders in their field.

No matter which type of content you decide to create, or the format you choose to use, always make sure your content is relevant to your audience.

Use the tips and and win with virtual events!

Virtual events are a fantastic way to make your events accessible to your audience. Develop your ideas from start to finish and put your plans into action. We can always use more inspiration, so here are 10 effective ideas to improve audience engagement during a virtual event.

Remember, when facing the challenge of hosting a virtual event in the best way possible, break everything down into achievable goals. Motivate your audience with memorable experiences. Bring in the fun! And draw your inspiration from the lessons your have learned. Breaking it down this way will help your organization with its strategy to win with virtual events.

 

Virtual merchandising room for shopping

Why stop at virtual events when there are a whole plethora of virtual experiences waiting for us to enjoy? Businesses especially are now realizing the potential of having a virtual department to complement their physical locations one of them being virtual retail. Virtual retail has started picking up its eCommerce game and giving users a shopping experience that includes more than just scrolling through a couple of pictures on a screen.

The future of shopping has already started to change. More individuals have also started to prefer shopping online and the convenience that comes with it. Additionally, the onset of the pandemic has made more people switch to buying products online than heading to a store. This means that it’s imperative now more than ever to proactively try and keep our customers with us and ensure they choose our website over our competitors.

What is Virtual Retail?

Virtual retail allows your customers to shop and purchase products through an online portal set up for your business. This could be through a website or an app with a secure payment processing feature. Many retail stores are now adding on websites for customers to shop their products online. Some stores even have exclusive deals and features that are only available online to entice customers to use their website when they shop.

Top Features of a Virtual Retail Store

Implementing a virtual retail store? Here are some of the top features you need to have in your design.

1. New design and interaction

Connect with new and loyal customers with your brand in a new and interactive way. You can go all out with your design and how you want to welcome customers to your online store. With bespoke designs from V-Unite and exciting corporate branding, you can create a feeling of awe in the customer journey as they navigate through your plush virtual store.

Technology has made is possible to truly create a new virtual retail experience. You can navigate and interact with products and feel like you are physically in the store with creative designs.

2. Allow customers to schedule and interact with personal shoppers

Create your own way of connecting and chatting with your customers to boost engagement. To give your customers a more exclusive feel, you can assign a personal shopper to each customer as they browse through the merchandise. The personal shopper will help them choose products and give them style tips as they pick out products. This is a great way to add personalization to your virtual store.

3. Private viewings

Design the retail experience with virtual rooms that showcase your products and merchandise that customers can interact with. They will have the opportunity to see how the products will look and maybe even enjoy a virtual try-on if the platform allows. You can also set up a live catwalk show and connect other interactive videos to keep your customer engaged.

4. 24/7 conversations 

Connect an interactive chatbot to answer customer enquiries in real time. Prepare any common questions and have a live chat feature in case of more complicated inquiries. Your customers will appreciate getting feedback as quickly as possible, which will make their experience with your virtual store better.

5. Share product information easily

Conduct regular Virtual Education workshops with pre-recorded or live presentations to drive revenue product sales. As your customer browses through your store, you will have the ability for them to learn more about products and updates.

6. Educate, engage and convert

Make a sale through your customers by including images, videos, surveys and polls. Your customers will love giving their feedback if they are able to access the surveys easily. If you have a loyalty program in place, this could also be a section for them to earn points through social media sharing or other games. With customers earning more points, they will want to spend their points and money on your products.

Top Benefits of a Virtual Retail Store

A virtual retail store comes with many advantages. Here's why you should design and implement a virtual store for your business.

1. Measure and track your customers

As with anything done online, it’s easy to track and measure impressions and conversion rates as your customers navigate through your virtual store. Additionally, you can see what your customer is browsing and make recommendations based on their interests and habits. With this ongoing consultation, your consumer will end up spending more time at the store which could convert to a sale.

2. Reduce overhead costs

By focusing on your online store, you will be able to save on costs such as rent and storage. You can then use these savings to give your eCommerce store a good virtual experience boost that will attract more of your target audience.

3. Keep consumers engaged

By providing personalized consultations with personal shoppers, you can keep your consumer immersed in the experience and make them want to check out every department and feature you have to offer. Additionally, when you give a consumer a bespoke and curated experience, you are really showing them that you know them and they will be able to shop items that are curated to their interest and style.

4. Expand your virtual retail market

A great aspect of a virtual store is that you can reach global markets if you choose to do so. The ability to market and reach a wider audience is a big advantage and one that will give you more customers provided you create exclusive shopping experiences for the global market as well.

5. Associates become brand ambassadors

As your associates sell your products online, they can also use their voices on social media and other online platforms to share product information and be the face of the brand. This is a great opportunity to tap into different markets and reach a wider audience through your brand ambassadors.

6. Create loyal customers

As your customers interact with your store, you can gather their information to send them targeted ads, messages and emails to keep their interest in your store. Simple notifications about favorite products back in stock can convert potential and current customers into loyal ones that will keep coming back for your items.

Virtual Retail is the Future

There are so many ways for businesses to be innovative and take advantage of virtual shopping. The retail industry has been one that has suffered the most during the pandemic and businesses are looking for new and profitable solutions to bring their customers back. With an interactive and exciting virtual event platform, they can do just that and much, much more.

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