The trade show industry is seeking new ways to generate revenues and engage its clients because of the damage made to its physical events. Just as the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market is starting its new online edition, scheduled to run from Jan. 6 through March 19, its parent company, Emerald Holding, announced the completion of its acquisition of PlumRiver Technologies, the international provider of the Elastic Suite solution.

Emerald, which also owns Surf Expo and many other shows, said the takeover will accelerate its “strategy to provide 365-day-per-year engagement of its customer base regardless of location.” PlumRiver’s technology allows vendors to interact with buyers in the digital space, integrating its software in the brands’ ERP systems to manage orders, real-time inventory and product merchandising. It uses print-free digital product catalogs.

Its B2B solution has been adopted notably by several companies in the outdoor, surf, cycling, footwear and sporting goods sector, many of which are also clients of Emerald. They include names like Boardriders, Burton, New Balance, Orvis, Patagonia, Puma, Rip Curl, Scott Sports, Shimano, Timberland, The North Face, Vans and Volcom. Founded in 2002, PlumRiver expanded the range of its capabilities and clients two years later with the acquisition of a competitor, CenterStone Technologies, which operated the rival iVendix B2B platform.

Emerald launched several new digital product offerings in the course of 2020, many of which are centered around the transactions between buyers and sellers. The U.S. show organizer said the takeover of PlumRiver will help it to offer a larger spectrum of bundled solutions to its customers – from product discovery and lead generation to transaction – across in-person, face-to-face events as well as “year-round, digital opportunities.” Hervé Sedky, president and CEO of Emerald, said that PlumRiver’s B2B e-commerce solution will also bring “an additive subscription-based revenue stream” to his company.

We wish to point out that Messe München has been adding many digital offerings to the service porfolio of its ISPO Group in the past few years, esoecially since the launch of its ISPO Innovation platform in 2014, as part of a long-standing program of customer engagement 365 days per year. Instead of acquiring service providers like PlumRiver, ISPO has struck partnerships with European experts in the field like Sportmass, the international Spanish-based internet portal. More is reportedly in the pipeline while ISPO gets ready for its own online show on Feb. 1-5.