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Remote Control Showcloud.com is an online showroom which offers a tailored solution to conducting business remotely. John Baulch finds out what the platform has to offer toy companies.
he past few months has seen many standard business practices having to be abandoned or curtailed: face to face meetings have become almost impossible, while international travel has been put on hold for the vast majority. Most trade shows and buying events have been cancelled, while previews have migrated online. Remote working has become the new normal, and toy companies have had to adapt their traditional way of working to fit the new working environment. With the way the industry has changed during lockdown, suppliers and buyers have been turning to new technology to fill the gaps. One exciting platform which perfectly fits the new way of working is Show Cloud, an online showroom which was developed by UK toy industry doyen Chris Jones and his business partner Ian de Kretser. Show Cloud has been helping toy companies across the globe to cope with the disruption caused by the pandemic, although it was never designed to replace face to face interactions and meetings, but rather as a complimentary resource to support international toy companies. Chris takes up the story: “We believe Show Cloud is a unique proposition. Over 7,200 people are already using it, and we’ve had a lot of interest in recent months. Show Cloud is now more relevant than ever – and as it has been developed by the toy industry, for the toy industry, it addresses the specific challenges which toy companies face and provides them with solutions which work.” Combining speed and simplicity, Show Cloud helps to maximise opportunities in a world of virtual selling, enabling buyers to buy, sellers to sell and brand managers to manage brands. Show Cloud is information rich – it provides users with practical applications, as well as data and analysis which helps progress sales discussions. The platform really comes into its own on a global basis – it represents a single ‘shared’ view of marketing assets, as well as sales and technical information. Furthermore, it is both versatile and flexible – Show Cloud can be
personalised for every customer. It’s also totally secure – every participant has their own log-in details. Each brand on the platform is featured in a powerpoint presentation, along with pricing, TV commercials, imagery, packaging and testing reports. This comprehensive information allows companies to share key brand material with multiple customers, saving valuable time on follow up and low-level administration tasks, so that time can be used more productively on selling and building the brand. The brand information is live 24/7 and, in a world where details can change constantly, it also ensures that everyone has the correct, up to date information, helping to co-ordinate international sales operations. It also offers the host total visibility of customer activity, so that sellers can see which lines buyers are truly interested in. Since Show Cloud launched four years ago, it has been growing organically, with new features constantly being added and existing processes being refined. For example, they are currently in the process of embedding in video messaging, a valuable addition to the platform, as Chris explains: “Video conveys emotion and tone of voice that text simply can’t achieve – it is as effective as being in the same room, empowering you to build strong relationships even when you’re
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across the globe from your customer.” Numerous high profile toy companies are already on board: Zuru has been using Show Cloud to manage its international business for the past four years, while other toy companies currently using the platform include Addo Play, Eolo, Wilton Bradley, Toy Triangle, Yulu, Spider Global, Jay@Play, Jakks Pacific and many others. Show Cloud recently made its first significant licensing industry signing (to be announced soon), and the team aims to bring more licensing companies on board in the coming months. In addition to its core function, Show Cloud also offers the opportunity for users to host virtual events: for example, Eolo recently used the platform to host its first-ever virtual toy show, an event which has been hailed as a success and one which many other suppliers are currently looking to replicate over the autumn season, with the traditional buying trips to Hong Kong and Los Angeles looking increasingly unlikely to happen this year. With question marks hanging over the likelihood of everything being back to normal by January, virtual events may become ubiquitous in the coming months. For any business, maintaining overall employee productivity in challenging conditions is very important. But Show Cloud is not just a short-term option– it’s very much a long-term, permanent solution to help toy sales teams continue to collaborate efficiently and seamlessly with their customers across the world. Chris and Ian would be delighted to demonstrate Show Cloud to interested toy companies and highlight what it can do: to learn more, simply book a demo at showcould.com