VerSous News

Why and How the Offline Business Format is Going to Return

The annual international franchising exhibition BUYBRAND Expo, which was held at the Expocenter in Moscow in September, revealed a great number of remarkable trends. For example, it became once again clear that face-to-face interaction and the offline format of business definitely had way more advantages. As a matter of fact, over the previous years, despite the occassional quarantine lockdowns due to COVID-19, the abovementioned exhibititon had been attended by the visitors from all over Russian and the neighbouring countries. The exhibitors were convinced that this trend was only going to continue.

The attendance rate was now fairly close to the pre-crisis levels, mostly due to, so to speak, the hunger for offline interaction and thanks to the entrepreneurs who became fed up with conference calls via the Zoom or the Teams. In other words, there was no way online communication could substitute live interaction. In this regard, the exhibition turned out to be the perfect and unique ground enabling and facilitating the communication between franchisers and franchisees.

'Live interpersonal communication simply can't be substituted. That's why we always invite our partners to our laboratory in order for them to get acquainted with both the procedure of how tests are taken and the people themselves. So we have brought all the key people to this exhibition, with whom our partners are going to communicate. Again, online is just not what we need,' Darya Goryakina, Deputy General Director of the Laboratory Service 'Helix', pointed out.

Partly the abovementioned circumstances have become the reason for franchising to be becoming a more and more popular trend, especially taking into account that investing into conventional business models during crisis may prove very risky and therefore completely unreasonable. Buying a franchise, on the contrary, would mean that a potential partner (a franchisee) is totally certain as to what kind of business he is getting into, what exactly he is investing into, and whether he is going to be able to make sure his business won't be affected by, let's say, COVID-19. By the way, since most of entrepreneurs, as well as investors, have been sowewhat reluctant and cautious in the last few years, and now that they have accumulated enough capital resources, it is expected that by the next spring there is going to be a boom in the demand for franchises. So this exhibition is the perfect platform to either introduce any business concept and bring it to the attention of investors, or find a franchise to purchase. 

The experience of the participants of the BUYBRAND exhibitions has shown that personal presence and live communication can increase the number of contracts signed and accelerates the process pertaining to signing of a contract four times on average.

'The BUYBRAND exhibition is the only one that can gather the appropriate audience from the regions. Most of contacts turned out to be completely new for us, yet definitely promising ones,' Oleg Protopopov, Head of Department for Development, Subway Russia (develops Carl's Jr's franchise in Russia), said.

Ekaterina Lopatina, a representative of Franchising Department of the Fitness Club Chain 'World Class', confirmed that the BUYBRAND was the perfect opportunity to make new useful contacts, as well as monitor new franchising trends, in any industry or segment regardless. It's very important to take a look at how different franchises are represented, she points out. 'It all definitely makes sense as a self-improvement tool,' she concluded.

For reference:
The BUYBRAND exhibitions have been held by EMTG for nineteen consecutive years in a row. In 2021, the exhibition was attended by 180 companies which presented their own business concepts in various segments such as services, retail, HoReCa, manufacturing, b2b, etc. The event was visited by more than 7,000 people. The audience consisted of both current businessmen and aspiring entrepreneurs looking for a business to effectively invest into.

The next BUYBRAND Franchise Market is scheduled to be held on March 22-24 in Moscow and is going be a part of the VerSous Business Market & Forum for Entrepreneurs.