Erwan Minier, founder and CEO of Visiofair, in PlÃ©rin (France)
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Visiofair is a software platform that allows anyone who has a licence to design an online trade show all by themselves. Then, the booths are designed by the exhibitors: setting up the design, downloading their videos, theirs news is up to them. As for the visitors, they are first welcomed on the exhibition hall, then they can move from booth to booth, in the same way they would visit a traditional trade show. They also can look for a particular booth using key words or the 3D map.
First of all, its cost, much cheaper than a traditional trade show which cost an average of â‚¬6,000 for three days of exhibition, all costs included (booth, human resources, transport costs, accomodation...). With Visiofair, one booth is worth â‚¬750 for the whole year! Even if we add afterwards communication costs, that can vary according to the size of the media plan, and that are poolable, the investment has nothing to do!
Other advantages: the exhibitors benefit from very innovative tools. The purpose of Visiofair is to create business for the companies that are exhibiting. Thus, we set up relationship establishment tools so that the visitors can contact booth staff, for instance, instant messaging and a chat system.
Moreover, the exhibitors see in real time who is on their booth. At any time, they can get in touch with the visitors. Above all, they have access to a very qualified database, as long as the visitor registered when entering on the trade show, and this even without asking for anything special.
For his/her part, the visitor also can get in touch with the exhibitor via the videoconference tool. This is an advantage for the exhibitor: he/she does not need to stay contineously in front of the computer. Indeed, he/she is notified by a phone call which first works as a traditional phone call, then being turn into videoconferencing. This is a very useful tool that allows to make the relationship more human.
For now, they are event organisers, trade associations, communities and federations who are willing to make their existing trade shows more complete, or even to replace them. Since one year, we have organized the first 100% virtual trade show of industrial subcontracting, but also the packaging trade show, the ones of the milk field, jobs and tourism...
This solution came from the US where it was born three or four years ago. In France though, the market is emerging. For the moment, we are two players and the reactions are quite mixed: if some of the organisers are rushing to take advantage of it, many of them are a bit reluctant since they are afraid to cannibalize their own events. It is a revolution to them, whereas the companies exhibiting only see the advantages of it, especially that this solution is boosting their business.
This is why we do not eliminate the idea of becoming organisers ourselves. For now, we donâ€™t shut the door to professionals, but we are facing a wait-and-see attitude.
We are a bit late from our original forecasts, that were rather ambitious: until now we sold 7 licences, compared with an objective of 13. But with the multi-licences, we can still make up for it. We were very surprised with the very long decision-making time of the trade shows organisers, up to six months. It must be said though that a traditional trade show is prepared up to 12 months in advance!
Besides the positioning that we consider to review, we keep a new tool at hand. It is a videoconferencing room in which we can organize conferences that allow to the participants to interact. It will be working within two months, the rate will be one euro per minute of broadcasting. It consists in a new way to have a forum for those who can not afford to rent a lecture theatre. For our part, it will enable us to open new markets.
Above all, it is essential for us to have a product that is constantly evolving. We devote 40% of our budget to research and development. This is a necessity as, even if the marking is emerging for now, we will have to be ahead when it will take off. In my opinion, this type of solution makes up the working environment of the future for a large number of companies. We are preparing the future!
At the same time, we are looking for some retailers of our solution abroad, and especially in the US where the market is more mature. We have an ergonomic, graphic and functional approach that they do not have. Moreover, this is a worldwide business!
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