Seoul raises a cup to coffee

Seoul Coffee Show at Coex wins praise for creativity in digital exhibitions and providing sense of community to hard-hit beverage retailers

SEOUL poured a boost to live-steaming business events by hosting Asia’s largest coffee exhibition as a “hybrid convergence show”.

The 19th Seoul Cafe Show held at COEX on November 14-17, 2020, won praise among Korea’s events industry analysts for catching the attention of the world’s coffee-brand marketers for involving six popular YouTube influencers, dual live-streaming of retail events and adding value to the online exhibition market.

Seoul Convention Bureau sees the event as a bold move in experimenting with online platforms as Covid restriction continue to prevent large-scale in-person exhibitions.

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“The focused online strategy stands out… Seoul Cafe Show featured YouTubers popular among young people and coffee lovers and enhanced the depth and breadth of online marketing through e-commerce and video-conferencing platforms,” a spokesman for the bureau said.

Events included a virtual tour led by the YouTubers, the NAVER Shopping Live Seoul Cafe Show Exhibition, a Digital Fair and the Mocha Port business lounge.

One of the Seoul Café Show organisers said: “The event was designed to present a new alternative and direction to those in the exhibition and café-related industries that are struggling to stay afloat, by creating a shared prosperity model that combines the entire chain of information delivery, purchase and consumption, going beyond a simple integration with e-commerce.”

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Yun Eun-ju, a professor at Hallym International Graduate School’s Department of Convention and Event Management, said: “The Seoul Cafe Show introduced ‘exhibition-based live commerce’ as a breakthrough in the exhibition industry hit hard by the pandemic.”

In a paper titled Changes in the Global Exhibition and Convention Industry Trends and Prospects for 2021, Yun says the global online exhibition market is expected to grow rapidly, reaching US$400 billion…  a threefold increase from $60 billion in 2019”.

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