The more technologically savvy respondents pointed out that catalogs can easily be put onto CDs, which would dramatically reduce mailing costs and would make it easier to hand out catalogs at the shows since they weigh very little and are small. Indeed, many of the problems for both the distributor and supplier could be fixed through digital catalog technologies.
For suppliers who do not have the resources to create digital catalogs, there are Web-based tools, such as Catalog Courier (www.catalogcourier.com), which create and store supplier catalogs, then allow distributors to search these catalogs and request hard copies from companies that do not have digital editions.
There are many industry product searches, but suppliers do need to lead the charge. Internet business practices are not optional anymore: They are necessary to remain competitive. Promotional Marketing’s research shows, nearly 75 percent of distributors use high speed Internet connections, such as cable modems or DSL. Each supplier must supply information about products on the Internet, support their online offerings and keep the Web-based features up to date. This kind of investment now will reduce costs and generate new business in the future. Not to mention, it will eliminate all those carts, making trade shows much more enjoyable for everyone.