Eric Schaumburg is the founder and CEO of Eventr.io and is a passionate entrepreneur who spent many years listening to the needs of the exhibitor. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Eric has been an entrepreneur since he helped build and sell a marketing company at the age of 16. He has many years of experience as an account executive and as VP of business development at TRAQ-IT, a supplier of comprehensive trade-show and event-management software. As an account executive at ExhibitForce 2020 Exhibits — a supplier of comprehensive trade-show, event-management, project-management, and lead-retrieval software — Eric learned about exhibition design, lead retrieval, and digital marketing. In 2013, he founded Eventr.io, an e-commerce platform for the trade show industry with the ambitious mission of simplifying the ordering process for exhibitors by creating a ubiquitous shopping platform that provides invaluable metrics association, exhibitor, and vendor stakeholders.
BusinessInterviews.com: Tell us more about Eventr.io. What are its main goals, and how does it achieve those goals?
Eric: Eventr.io is a one-stop shopping platform that simplifies the ordering process for exhibitors preparing for a trade show. Today, when an association wants to host a trade show, it selects vendors to handle certain aspects of its show that pass on costs to exhibitors (such as AV rentals, lead-retrieval services, convention centers, furniture rentals, service contractors, and labor). All of these vendors have different ordering methods — both through PDF forms and disparate online ordering systems — and specific deadlines.
This compilation of headaches is passed on to exhibitors in a complex “services manual” that the exhibitor must complete over and over again for every show months in advance throughout the year. There are a lot of missed deadlines that result in late fees, unknown additional charges that appear on credit card statements, and a lengthy reconciliation process that follows every event.
Eventr.io allows associations to quickly build a show and invite their preferred vendors, whose product catalogs all populate into an Amazon-like platform for exhibitors to schedule orders, avoid late penalties, reconcile immediately, and approve or dispute additional charges while capturing and reporting on valuable spend metrics.
Associations and vendors are also privy to pretty spectacular analytics and can easily integrate them with CRM solutions, existing ordering platforms, and accounting software. Vendors even have the opportunity to become part of an open marketplace, which helps them win new business and compete for shows’ preferred vendor status based on location, industry, or size.
Our main goals are to bring this industry into the current technological playing field and shift the balance of power back to the associations and exhibitors — the most important entity of the trade show itself. We’re making trade shows as easy and transparent as they should be.
Creating a ubiquitous ordering platform for all aspects of the event and providing crucial never-before-seen comparative analytics will bring the industry up to speed and solve the headaches that exhibitors, associations, and vendors face daily.
BusinessInterviews.com: What do you think the biggest problem in the trade show industry is right now, and what solutions do you have for this problem?
Eric: There are a lot of problems with the industry that we aim to correct as we go, but the first thing we want to address is the disjointed preparation, planning, and ordering aspects for the exhibitor.
Providing easy-to-use technology that encourages associations to bring their vendors to their show — instead of the other way around — is the first step in solving many headaches along the way. Associations will be rewarded with increased booth sales, higher retention rates, valuable metrics, and happier exhibitors.
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice do you have to give vendors and exhibitors at trade shows to create an efficient and successful show?
Eric: It’s not about giving advice to the vendors and exhibitors. They both know what could be better, and both parties are doing the best they can with the structure and technology that’s in place. What we want to do is help make everyone’s life a little bit easier so these shows are more efficient and valuable.
BusinessInterviews.com: Where do you see Eventr.io in the next five years?
Eric: Eventr.io will be the ubiquitous event-ordering marketplace, which will help increase show sizes and lower costs by introducing the consumer aspect back into the industry.
BusinessInterviews.com: How is Eventr.io breaking down barriers in the trade show industry?
Eric: Essentially by consolidating the industry as a whole. There’s too much separation between associations, vendors, and exhibitors for problems to be solved. By opening up a platform that’s beneficial to every stakeholder, the industry will begin to see that there are a lot of common needs and many benefits to working together.
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice do you have for small business owners in niche industries for making their businesses succeed?
Eric: Seek out your industry’s well-connected thought leaders, and create a powerful advisory board. Really lean on them for advice, connections, direction, and credibility. I also recommend starting with a small solution that answers one problem at first, but always remember that even though it’s a niche industry, you’re playing on a large chessboard.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s your biggest challenge as a small business owner in a niche industry, and how do you work to overcome it?
Eric: Probably explaining exactly what our company does to outsiders who are unfamiliar with the industry. That aside, there are times when it feels as though we’re trying to sell a racecar to a person who has only known the horse-drawn wagon — especially when outlining our objectives to the leaders and winners in our industry who have no reason to change what they’re doing. Niche industries are usually fortified by the same entities that have kept the industry niche for many years. The best way to overcome it is to simply provide a solution that includes them in the benefits.
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