ecommerce startup, Trada, has digitised the traditional trade show with its online platform which has reached more than $1 million in annualised gross merchandise value (GMV) since launch in November 2019.

Trada now features more than 300 brands across more than 12,000 products, with over 3,000 retailers signed up from around the country. Through the online marketplace, retailers can find unique products, place wholesale orders and track delivery to store.

Trada co-founder Shekhar Raju said, “Trade shows are how retailers traditionally find new suppliers, with many purchasing an entire year’s worth of products in a single sale. However, for smaller brands it can be incredibly expensive to attend with even a small booth costing thousands of dollars just to showcase for a few days. We wanted to create a platform that was more affordable with a greater selection of brands.”

Trada co-founder Ankit Oberoi added, “Trada has seen a high rate of adoption from both brands and retailers during the past few months as an increasing number of trade shows are cancelled. Our platform has become one of the only ways that reopening retailers can get access to new stock. Since late May we have seen a massive uptick in both sales and engagement with June sales up 300%.”

Australian retailers spend an average of more than $14,000 on stock each month, according to Vend Retail Benchmarks. Minimum purchase orders with Trada start from $100, with retailers able to make small orders to test out new brands with customers, as well as order from multiple brands through a single checkout. Trada is providing free shipping and zero credit card fees to help alleviate additional costs during the pandemic. The platform uses a machine learning algorithm to recommend products for retailers based on their individual purchase history and store type.

How Trada is helping businesses around the country

Nicole Smith, owner of women’s clothing store, {noun} a place for things, in Smithton, Tasmania, traditionally gets products from gift fairs or orders from catalogues but has started supporting smaller suppliers and Australian brands that she discovered through Trada.

“2020 has been a challenge. We are in the north-west corner of Tasmania that went into full lockdown in April and had to close our doors. We built a website quickly and were very well supported by our local community in that time,” she told Retailbiz.

“Trada has been so helpful every step of the way and all suppliers we have dealt with have been lovely to work with. We love that the platform features many Australian boutique brands. Brands that often get missed that are small businesses like ours, that are working hard to make a living in these difficult times.”

Leonie Henzell, owner of online homewares store, Beauty’s Got Soul, in Burwood, Victoria, said using physical trade fairs to exhibit and showcase was prohibitively expensive and the return on investment was lower than anticipated, then Trada created the equivalent to a trade fair, but online.

“COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns in Melbourne have led to great growth for our business. We have been able to scale quickly and meet the higher demand for home delivered luxury gifts. Interestingly, other online gifting companies have found Beauty’s Got Soul on Trada and this has been wonderful,” she told Retailbiz.

“So far, we have received a nice volume of orders from Trada. These customers now order regularly which is fantastic. We have received orders from remote stores and businesses that we would never have been able to find ourselves.”

Ellen Walsh, owner of online stationery and art store, Ellen Walsh Designs, used to place wholesale orders through trade shows and participate in design markets to engage with customers before joining Trada.

“So, a big impact to my business in 2020 has been the loss of in person markets. On the wholesale side, trade shows are increasing moving online so it will be interesting to see how they compare. Over the course of the various lockdowns wholesale orders quietened down while stores found their footing, but hopefully now that many states are opening back up this will start building again too,” she told Retailbiz.

“Having a platform like Trada to work with has meant that my business is not solely reliant on trade shows. It is a very accessible and simple way for stores to find new products and reorder too, especially with the difficulties 2020 has presented. Previously the travel restrictions, lockdowns and cancellations of shows would have made finding new retailers difficult, but the online platform means any store, anywhere in Australia, can find my products.

“My favourite part of Trada has been connecting with stores that I otherwise would probably never have gotten the opportunity to meet, and then watching these stores become repeat customers and building a long-term relationship with them.”