Virtual Expo Helps Businesses Find Information
7 January 2002
Business people interested in developing their organisation’s e-commerce capabilities can visit a web portal to find free information, case studies and supplier promotions.
The web site at www.istart.co.nz was launched about a year ago with financial support from Industry New Zealand under its business growth scheme.
Behind iStart are Kiwi entrepreneurs Marty Verry and Tony McDrury, who returned from Europe last year with e-commerce experience and a fresh appreciation of what might be done in New Zealand.
IStart managing director Marty Verry says the site is aimed at New Zealand companies wanting clear, easy to use information to guide their development of e-commerce strategies and capability.
Just like visiting an actual trade expo, visitors can browse through a dozen or so pavilions where exhibitors have set up virtual displays. Currently the expo hosts 65 exhibitor companies showcasing 85 products and services.
Particularly popular with visitors are the company case studies, Marty Verry says. “We have the biggest selection in New Zealand.”
Exhibitors pay for their space in the expo, and provide and update their own content, through a content management system provided by iStart partner e-cision.
“We are getting more proactively involved in the sales pipeline now that we’ve gathered a lot of industry knowledge and have what is the largest opt-in e-mailing list in the industry.
“Enquiries and sales are already coming through for exhibitors. Those that have tracked click-throughs, enquiries and sales have been very satisfied.”
Ken Holley, principal of Australian Velocit-e’s New Zealand operation, decided to put all his advertising budget into a stand at the expo.
“Our target is the CEOs of New Zealand’s top 100 companies. We don’t run our own website in New Zealand, so our stand does duty for that. What attracted me initially were iStart’s plans to attract the right eyes to the site, having control over content, and a good feedback loop.
“Registrations for our white paper have grown from just a couple a month, to 10 a month, so we’re well pleased.”
According to Industry New Zealand projects manager Howard Moore, “Some business analysts put New Zealand two years behind the USA and 18 months behind Australia and Europe in adopting business-to-business e-commerce.
“The risk is that local companies will find their export business eroding as they become relatively less responsive to the needs of their existing business customers. In turn, that would impact negatively on New Zealand’s overall competitive position.
“Supporting the iStart portal is a way to help New Zealand businesses find useful information quickly, in one place, that would otherwise require searching all over the web.”
Looking ahead, iStart’s Marty Verry is bullish about growth prospects. “The funding from Industry New Zealand means that we can do things right and that's important for our brand-conscious clientele.
“It'll mean we can comfortably position the brand as well as build in further value-added services to help facilitate the growth of this industry.”
For more information contact:
Phone: 021 796 455
Or Debbie Gee
Industry New Zealand
Phone: 04 495 6322
Tony McDrury and Marty Verry (right)
Venture magazine, Industry New Zealand