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Experiential Marketing

3D Innovates The Exhibition Industry For Organiser, Exhibitor, Supplier

3D Shell, the recipient of ‘Best supply company’ as voted by EXSA and one of the busiest suppliers of exhibition infrastructure in Africa, has innovated the exhibition industry for organisers, exhibitors and suppliers with the launch of its innovative EaziXpo online exhibitor and services management system.

Developed locally by a team of information systems experts briefed by 3D’s sales and marketing director, Conrad Kullmann, EaziXpo bridges the communication divide between exhibition organiser, exhibitor and the supplier to provide a seamless exhibition experience for all three.

Based on workflow principles and housed in the cloud, it does away with the need for the endless paper trial and complicated spreadsheets of data, historically proven to be unreliable because of human error, to provide an elegant solution for managing all aspects of the exhibition, including money collection for extra services.

“Simply put, EaziXpo is easy-to-understand, flexible online exhibition management and services ordering system customised for each new exhibition to address its unique requirements,” said Kullmann.

“It was developed to solve all the inefficiencies and irritations that the industry has accepted in the past. Including those error-laden spreadsheets and files organisers use to keep tabs on what each exhibitor has signed up for and stipulated and changed.

“Including endless telephone calls to request exhibitors to complete and return their mandatory forms. Including money collection with respect to additional services.

“And including – my personal favourite – getting the infrastructure supplier the spec and build sheets at the last possible minutes before build-up commences.”

Customising EaziXpo is done after a detailed briefing between 3D and the exhibition organiser to establish the ‘ground rules’ – what stand sizes will be on offer, what additional services, how will signage be handled, which are the required mandatory forms, what general information would the organiser require, and so on.

Thereafter, 3D’s experienced services personnel load the entire exhibitor manual onto the site, add all services with pricing, and add the show banners to the site. These show banners also populate all the online mandatory forms so there’s no need for the exhibitor to print these out, fill them in, scan them and then e-mail them back.

Once the exhibition has been loaded, so to say, the organiser receives a unique user name and password to check that all the details and the setup of the site is correct. On his or her dashboard are just four tabs – ‘exhibitor list’, ‘add exhibitor’, ‘loaded documents’ and ‘load a document’.

On selling a stand, the organiser clicks the ‘add exhibitor’ button and fills out all the exhibitor’s details. This adds the exhibitor’s details to the ‘exhibitor list’.

The organiser uses this zone to see a list of all exhibitors as well as their passwords, stand details (space only or shell, for example), stand number and how many times they have entered the site. This last bit of information allows 3D’s services department to see which exhibitors haven’t completed all their forms, and call them to expedite this.

In addition, EaziXpo emails the exhibitor a unique user name and password for access to the site,

On receipt of the welcome message and user name and password, the exhibitor can enter the site and access his or her dashboard, which has only three buttons – ‘show information’, ‘mandatory forms’ and ‘services’. The exhibitor must complete the mandatory forms and order additional services online using the system.

If the exhibitor tries to order services before he or she has filled out the mandatory forms, he or she will be ‘bounced back’ to mandatory forms to do so.

The ‘services’ button information is categorised into the various service offerings – audio visual, electrical, plants, furniture, safety sail, plumbing, security, shell scheme add ons, and so on. Ordering these is as simple as shopping online – they are simply added to the exhibitor’s basket before he or she proceeds to check-out.

Payment is by company credit card or the system can generate a pro forma invoice which the exhibitor can forward to the accounts department for processing.

Of course, as supplier, 3D benefits too because the site houses – at any one time – a complete and up-to-date database of exactly what is required and for which exhibitor. This facilitates its planning and scheduling.

“For the organiser, EaziXpo is a game-changer: there’s no paper work, no filing, no dragging files to site, no arguing with exhibitors and suppliers over infrastructure and extra services. All he or she needs is an iPad or computer and an internet connection.

“For the exhibitor, because it is workflow based, it’s an organisational tool; a way of ensuring all the bases are covered so there’s no unpleasant surprises a few days before the exhibition opens,” said Kullmann.

“Best of all, it’s free – no-one pays, not organiser, not exhibitor.”

There’s one catch, though, and this is that the system is proprietary to 3D. It was developed to give its shell business – 3D Shell – a unique selling point in a market that is increasingly been driven by price.

“The shell scheme industry is fast becoming a commodity business, with prices being driven down until the supplier is operating so close to the bone. That’s not a sustainable business, and 3D doesn’t do business that way. We prefer to add value.

“EaziXpo is our way of adding value for the organiser and the exhibitor. The money saved, the time saved, the improved efficiencies, the enhanced professionalism – they’re all big pluses. All the organiser needs to do is appoint 3D Shell as its exclusive supplier, and EaziXpo is theirs for that show meaning they can add other suppliers to the system to provide the exhibitor access to those services not offered by the 3D Group,” Kullmann concluded.

3D Shell is currently the exclusive shell scheme supplier to HobbyX, MamaMagic, HuntEx, Manufacturing Indaba, Africa Energy Indaba, Infrastructure Africa, A-OshExpo, Hostex, World Travel Market Africa, The Solar Show, Africa Rail, Cards & Payments Africa, Power & Electricity World Africa, and BreakBulk Africa.

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