This past week, Messe Frankfurt launched completely revised exhibitor and product searches for its event websites. The new features particularly include possibilities for exploratory product-oriented searches. In addition to this, users will be shown an inspiring presentation of the online search results with a Pinterest-like tile look. The modern display of search results benefits exhibitors by providing them with much higher visibility.
The new search features are already available for the Christmasworld, Creativeworld and Paperworld trade fairs. Starting in October, the search will also be activated for the Heimtextil fair and the other trade fair websites will follow step by step.
Due to the importance of search features on the websites of event organizers, we spoke with Henric Uherek, who is Coordinator of Web Solutions in Messe Frankfurt’s Digital Services unit and responsible for the future development of the exhibitor and product searches for the third largest exhibition organizer in the world.
Why modern search features on trade fair websites so important?
Together with their exhibitors with their product and service offerings, large trade fairs often represent a significant part of the respective market. The offerings presented at the trade fair are often available today via online catalogues and product directories throughout the year on the organizer’s websites. Millions of people are now using these sources of up-to-date company and product information to plan their trade fair visit, gain orientation during the trade fair, or throughout the year to research products or make contacts.
The depth of content of these information services requires fast, convenient and modern search features, which provide visitors with an excellent customer experience, while also ensuring maximum visibility for exhibitors. After all the exhibitor and product searches are by far the most frequently used online services in the event organizer’s web portals and Navigator apps.
How did you proceed with development of the new online search feature?
As part of the successful relaunch of messefrankfurt.com, the agile development method SCRUM was used to completely an entirely new exhibitor search. This is based on usability tests and user surveys. As a result, we identified four typical types of search: company searches, product searches, focused searches (e.g. by company location at the trade fair), and exploratory searches by topics and products. We have completely revised the exploratory product-oriented search for products like “wrapping paper” or “coloured pencils”, for example.
What makes the search unique and what added value does it provide exhibitors?
The search results are presented in a modern, Pinterest-like tile look with images and texts displayed much more prominently than in the past. The new search results design invites users to engage in exploratory browsing in the product worlds they are interested in. In doing so, they can choose whether they want the search results displayed alphabetically, by location (hall, stand) or by best matches, and whether they want to filter the results according to additional criteria. It is possible to switch to a conventional list view as well.
The new exhibitor search also allows for entirely new forms of advertising. Due to the responsive design that adapts to any screen size, exhibitors can place their ads directly within the search results and have them displayed as tiles in the grid view.
The products selected as part of Messe Frankfurt’s exhibitor media packages will be displayed in the search and have a much better quality than in the past. The exploratory search feature increases the opportunities for exhibitors to be visible and easily found. The media package thus provides customers with a higher level of performance.
We highly recommend testing the new search.