Business

Projector lamp lighting the way

Stephen Schramke, CEO of Projector.com, recently established the company selling projector systems. - JESSE BEALS/Staff Photo
Stephen Schramke, CEO of Projector.com, recently established the company selling projector systems.
— image credit: JESSE BEALS/Staff Photo

A new online venture offers high-end projection systems.

Stephen Schramke doesn’t want his customers to feel like they’re in the dark, except when they’re enjoying the products of Projector.com.

Schramke compares the average level of knowledge among the public about projection systems to PC buyers in the early 1990s not knowing what “RAM” was.

“People are trying to figure out, where is the value? In lumens? Contrast ratio?” Schramke said. “We want to help (customers) feel comfortable they are getting the best value for their money.”

Projector.com, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Atlanta, Ga.-based Technical Innovation, set up on Bainbridge Island in June to sell projection systems – the projector, screen, lamp and cables, for home entertainment systems, and business and educational presentations – via the Internet. Target buyers include home entertainment consumers, businesses like hospitals, banks, broadcast companies or portable units for trade shows and conferences.

Given the cost of a system, a typical sale might take four weeks to three months to finalize, and at least six to seven hours of research, said Schramke, CEO. Their website will eventually run on custom software with live chat so that the company can be “very consultative, and help them do their own research.”

To determine how many lumens – a measure of light intensity – the user’s projector will need in a space, the potential buyer will be able to step through easy questions about the room where the unit will be used, such as the number of windows in the room and how much light comes in during the day. Based on the choice of projector, complementary screens can be called up.

Ideally, the wealth of information for shoppers and good customer service will help establish the company as a trusted name in the industry, Schramke said.

“The Internet lets people do research, shop around prices easily and quickly,” he said. “So the challenge for any ecommerce company is to provide educational material and make it so easy that they purchase from that website.”

Employee bonuses are tied to customer satisfaction ratings, gleaned through customer surveys; Schramke sees word of mouth being key to sales.

“The first ones who buy will want to tell everybody about it,” he said, and often those friends will want to go out and get their own having experienced a system. “There’s data that shows clustering of home entertainment (purchases) in a way I haven’t seen before.”

Even though a projector alone runs from under $1,000 to over $30,000, Schramke believes most people are open to purchasing high cost items over the Internet. He knows about running an Internet-based business, having established, bought and sold them for years; his past ventures include a site for online home appraisals, event and sports tickets sales, a shopping site and others.

The projector and technical information comes from the parent company Technical Innovation, which has data on all the equipment from its many test labs.

Schramke chose Bainbridge Island as the base of operations, seeing the location alone as an attractive recruiting tool for area talent, and moved to the island himself from Issaquah.

He sees a bright future for this industry with more and more people preferring to watch movies in the comfort of their home than in a movie theaters.

“I expect to continue to see that (trend) now that you can replicate that theater experience in your house which you can share with friends and families.”

The company maintains a website at www.projector.com. For more information call 842-2410 or toll-free (888) 633-3301.

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