Virtual platform Show Cloud has continued to evolve, helping to support suppliers and retailers. John Baulch finds out about the new features that have been added.
We first introduced Show Cloud to readers of Toy World back in the summer. The online showroom, which was developed by UK toy industry doyen Chris Jones and his business partner Ian de Kretser, is the perfect platform to help toy companies deal with many of the challenges presented by the current virtual trading climate. In essence, Show Cloud helps suppliers to maximise opportunities in a world of virtual selling, enabling buyers to buy, sellers to sell and brand managers to manage brands.
As the year has progressed, Show Cloud has demonstrated its flexibility by incorporating a host of new features which allow suppliers and their teams to work more productively and efficiently. Chris points out that one of Show Cloud’s strengths is that it is a one-stop shop for the new virtual way of working: “The platform enables the whole team to come together in one place. In some cases, people have started working for a new company and have never been to the office or met their team members in person, yet alone seen the range in the flesh. New starters can at least familiarise themselves with the range and brand architecture, including pricing, as it is all housed in one place.”
With trade shows cancelled and face to face previews and meetings continuing to prove difficult to arrange, many suppliers have been looking at how best to demonstrate their new lines to customers, and according to Chris, Show Cloud has several valuable options to facilitate this: “The most important customers need one-to-one presentations, but with suppliers needing to preview a large number of customers, it is not always easy to fit everyone in individually. So, we have incorporated a live stream area into the platform, enabling suppliers to pre-record an event and then invite their customers to view it at their convenience. This saves valuable time, as well as helping to include customers in different time zones, who can watch the presentation whenever it suits them.”
Another new feature that helps to replicate the trade show experience is the Virtual Tour option, explained by Ian: “Customers can click on a product to bring up more details. They can even rotate a product to get a better view. Of course, it’s not the same as picking it up, but it’s a huge improvement on a static image. It can also give you a good idea of the size and scale of a product.”
As the key autumn winter selection period begins, suppliers have to contend with a unique set of challenges over the coming months, but this is where Show Cloud really excels, as Chris outlines: “Ultimately, Show Cloud is a very affordable business continuity service, offering significant productivity and cash savings. It is there as a support vehicle throughout the year, but it really comes into its own during preview and Toy Fair Season. Many companies are looking to reinvest some of the money they have saved through Toy Fairs being cancelled to help them stay in touch with their customers – and this is exactly what Show Cloud does.”
If you would like to find out more about Show Cloud and how it could support your business, Chris and Ian would be delighted to demonstrate the platform to interested toy companies and highlight what it can do: to learn more, simply book a demo at showcloud.com.
Click here to read the full interview in the December issue of Toy World Magazine.