November 14, 2007, 12:00 AM seeks new ways to connect computer buyers and sellers plans a new virtual trade show to help visitors access technical information such as white papers and online chats with leading manufacturers.

PC Connection Inc. is planning a virtual trade show.

Scheduled for a launch later this month on, the virtual trade show will give visitors access to relevant technical information such as white papers and online chats with leading manufacturers. The virtual trade show will also use rich media for enhanced product and speaker presentations. “We want customers to feel like they are coming to an e-commerce site where we can get their questions answered by using different forums,” says David Beffa-Negrini, PC Connection senior vice president, corporate marketing and creative services.

PC Connection, No. 32 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is big on customer self-service. To facilitate faster purchases, repeat buyers, especially small businesses that purchase multiple computers and the accompanying cables and printers, can use TRAXX, an internally designed supply chain management and e-commerce platform, to compare pricing from several suppliers and arrange special pricing directly through the manufacturer. The system also enables buyers to compare product information and availability, submit an order online, arrange for delivery and track shipments.

The virtual trade show will help busy buyers of computer gear attend a conference without the hassle of travel and time away from the office. “The trade show will be very interactive and include the same forums that a visitor to a regular trade show would find,” says Beffa-Negrini.

PC Connection, which now uses the web to drive almost one-third of all sales, up from about 20% just two years ago, sees the virtual trade show and other self-service customer service tools as a way to differentiate in a very competitive niche. “We want the web site to get customers quickly to where they want to and present them with relevant content that will help them make better purchasing decisions," says Beffa-Negrini.

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