From February 27 to March 1, 2018, “EuroCIS – The Leading Trade Fair for Retail Technology” took place in Düsseldorf. The fair, which presents different technology solutions every year, should make retail more convenient – With new various payment solutions, self-checkout systems for employee-less stores, and smart price tags – This was not just thematically interesting for us, but above all, an opportunity to look behind the scenes at the value of such solutions. At the same time, the event was also the premier of the new Online Order System (OOS), the in-house solution for the distribution of trade fair services.
Trade fair dates are tight deadlines
Anyone who has ever been involved in the organisation of a trade fair stand knows that the processes that take place in the run-up to the event demand so much from even the greatest organisational talent. Stands have to be constructed, furnished, and decorated, snacks need to be prepared for the guests and – to make the whole effort worthwhile – appropriate advertising measures take place on site. At the same time, of course, the controlling has to be right. It’s a real balancing act, especially if you have to plan and organise your own trade fair appearance in Düsseldorf from Tokyo, which is a twelve-hour flight away.
So why not create a platform where exhibitors can view, book, and edit all services for a trade fair appearance online, view invoices and put corresponding services on the watch list for the next time? In cooperation with dotSource, Messe Düsseldorf has developed a B2B marketplace for exhibition services that meets all these requirements.
Everything from a single source – the integrated solution for all-round service
Messe Düsseldorf has been operating an Online Order System (OOS) for 15 years and offers services for the organisation of trade fair appearances via other digital platforms. However, in terms of technical flexibility and user experience, the platform landscape had several vulnerabilities. In addition, the limited possibilities of being able to map the complex services of Messe Düsseldorf and its service partners in all their variations on the platform made for a high additional communication effort.
Together with dotSource, Messe Düsseldorf replaced the previous system. Based on SAP Hybris Commerce, a multi-client-capable marketplace was created, through which Messe Düsseldorf and its approx. 30 service partners can offer all their services and independently manage their assortment and incoming orders. With stand registration, exhibitors already have access to all relevant additional services – from stand walls to advertising measures. In a highly automated process, a separate exhibitor shop with the appropriate design will be rolled out on the platform for each trade fair event organised by Messe Düsseldorf at the appropriate time. Exhibit teams, contractors, and booth builders managing and scheduling various events and booths simultaneously – once logged into the system – have the ability to switch between the various events and booths via a drop-down menu and fill multiple shopping carts in parallel.
» “Our goal was to create a platform on which we can bundle our customers’ services as well as those of our partners. Together with dotSource, we have succeeded in developing a ‘marketplace for exhibit services’. We are proud of our new digital flagship.“
Stefan Schlinger, Head of the in-house service center, Messe Düsseldorf «
Make products requiring explanation quick and easy to buy
The products featured in the OOS are, to a large extent, highly-declarable and sometimes configurable services whose order process differs greatly from the online distribution of everyday goods. This increases the complexity of mapping the products in a standard e-commerce system. To ensure that all services offered can be conveniently ordered via the platform without the need for increased communication, the team also implemented some very special product detail pages. An example of this are product forms, such as fire protection permits. During the ordering, a shopping basket is forgone. Instead, there are form fields on the product detail pages that the user can fill out and submit online prior to purchase. The checkout process happens in the background.
More service and improved user guidance thanks to guided shopping
Despite the increased degree of automation, Messe Düsseldorf would like to support the organisers in their preparations for their trade fair appearance in accordance with their varying level of experience. For this purpose, a variety of features are used on the platform to provide demand-focused information. The stand management assistant first introduces the user to the most important functions of the new OOS and explains the structure of the platform.
Specialists with products for the standard equipment of a trade fair stand provide an orientation for less experienced exhibitors and new customers. The shopping lists can be edited, exported, and sent, which further simplifies the internal approval process for the organisational teams. By optimising the platform for desktop, tablet, and mobile viewports, the platform can also be used during stand construction, further simplifying workflows for exhibitors and stand builders.
The answer to special requirements
With the new OOS, Messe Düsseldorf has a platform that not only automates the ordering process as well as internal and external workflows, but above all guarantees a high level of advice and service as well as transparent communication between trade fair clients and service providers. Thanks to its sophisticated shop functionalities, the highly specialised requirements of a B2B service company, such as the depiction of complex variations and the consideration of order deadlines, could be implemented.
The modern face of the product as a mobile optimised display and the provision of demand-oriented information guarantee a high user-satisfaction while using the platform, which meets the requirements of Messe Düsseldorf’s clients – from stand registration to trade fair follow-up. During the preparations for EuroCIS 2018, the new system had already proven itself. In the future, more exhibitor shops will be rolled out to individual fairs, so that the platform will ultimately run for 25 to 40 clients.
Download the free Messe Düsseldorf Case Study now!
More information about the project can be found in the current case study. This can be downloaded here for free. Experts at dotSource are happy to advise and support you, be it in the development of individual digital strategies or the further development of existing processes. Contact us now.