Adapting as Automotive Goes Virtual

Like many events this year, the FCA 21st Annual Supplier Diversity Matchmaker event went virtual. The new format for the event, a complete turnaround from the typical large in-person tradeshows, forced participants to adapt quickly. To keep up, Lucerne launched its first-ever virtual booth as a part of the event. The virtual tradeshow provided diverse supplier businesses access to FCA Tier 1 suppliers and an opportunity to network with FCA buyers.

Account Manager, Christina Rupkey represented Lucerne by hosting an exhibitor booth in the event’s online portal. There, buyers and suppliers could network, instant message and meet via video call.

“Events like this are so important for suppliers like Lucerne,” said Rupkey. “It gives us a chance to get our name out there, tell our story and do business.”

Traditionally, these types of events took place in large arenas where attendees had physical booths set up outfitted with screens and posters to show off their product. In this new normal, attendees had to adapt, making sure they had a catchy tagline and good virtual presence to stand out and draw in visitors.

“I think everyone agreed that it was much more fun to do it this way, and far less stressful,” said Rupkey. “It didn’t include the hectic running around to meet people like you would normally see. Everything was in one place.”

Events like this are a testament to how the automotive industry is adapting in response to the pandemic. The industry has been forced to shift and figure things out together on a global scale. Rupkey noted time management being the biggest issue to come from this change.

“We’re not meeting in the lobby or visitors lounge anymore and shaking hands,” said Rupkey. “You’re fighting for a Zoom slot in someone’s schedule that’s planned down to the minute.”

And those digital tools are here to stay. Rupkey believes it’s crucial that companies embrace new tools as the industry turns a new leaf in the way networking is done. She says the digital era is bringing a lot of comradery with it, thanks to platforms like the virtual booth. She sees it as a change for the better as companies use it to strengthen and grow.

“It’s a different playing field these days, but the opportunity is still there,” said Rupkey. “It’s providing a better opportunity to do business and strengthen our company as a whole.”