Take It Online

Virtual trade shows take care of some very real business.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the August 2007 issue of . Subscribe »

Virtual trade shows, expos and conventions are coming into their own. While event producers all insist that virtual shows won't replace real-world shows, there are some decided advantages to attending, hosting or exhibiting at online events. Entrepreneurs save on the costs of travel, booth materials and employees' lost productivity.

Robin Cowie, president of WorldwideBrands.com, a Maitland, Florida, wholesale and drop-ship resources provider, went from attending virtual B2B e-commerce trade show eComXpo to hosting a booth at the show. "We treat it like a normal convention," says Cowie, 35, whose company reached more than $3 million in sales last year. "We have three staff members dedicated to it. They're constantly chatting and exchanging information during the show, and I don't have to pay for travel."

Virtual trade shows have a lot in common with their physical counterparts. There are exhibit halls, educational seminars, booths manned by live staff and networking lounges. Events run the gamut from business trade shows, consumer-oriented trade shows, job fairs and corporate training to events that are open for up to a year. "We've built mechanisms to do very complex reporting and analytics for lead qualification ranking," says Brent Arslaner, vice president of marketing at Unisfair, a virtual event solutions firm.

The cost savings and ease-of-use are compelling arguments for virtual events and for virtual online components to physical events. "Physical events are becoming much more tightly coupled with virtual events," says Arslaner. Already, these virtual trade shows and conventions are morphing into business communities--entrepreneurs are using them for ongoing networking and education.

Malcolm Lotzof, CEO of virtual event producer InXpo, says, "Online events are getting more cost-effective, faster and easier. It's just a force of nature."

More from Entrepreneur

Grow Your Business at Entrepreneur LIVE! Join us on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn, NY, to learn from legends like Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova, pitch our editors, meet with investors, and potentially walk away with funding!
Register here

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.