Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Exhibit Design Search’

Trade Show Exhibit Websites

June 5th, 2010 COMMENTS
Making an Impression . . .

Making an Impression . . .

Lately, I’ve been researching websites of trade show displays and trade show distributors. What works, what doesn’t, what looks good and appealing, what looks good and appealing but doesn’t offer any fruit? Personally, I want to find information quickly, which is why I like Classic’s Exhibit Design Search.

I’m an online shopper. As many of you know, my house caught fire last fall which meant I had to replace a lot of stuff. I bought our new TV online, actually ordered it and spent $2400 after working with an online sales consultant. The entire transaction took about 30 minutes, largely because the website was informative and comprehensive and the consultant knowledgeable and professional. I knew if I had questions after the TV arrived that I could call the consultant, and he would gladly work with me. The online company made shopping and ordering easy. I have since recommended the company to friends.

Now, not all trade show websites are e-commerce sites. In fact, most are not.

Based on my research, I’ve discovered there are three basic categories:

1. It’s a website but not a deep website.

It really isn’t an online marketplace —  rather it’s an online billboard where you can find some basic information about the company. Perhaps you’ll see a couple of exhibits built for their loyal customers. There is a “status quo” feeling to the website. Most trade show exhibit websites fit this description. The quality varies. Some are excellent with professional graphic design and intuitive navigation. Others have that “brother-in-law” look and feel. What’s important is that they have a web presence.

2. The online catalogs where price is the driving force.

Again the quality varies, as does the product assortment. Let’s not kid ourselves. Price matters, especially in a down economy. However, as Maslow describes it, “When your only tool is a hammer, then all your problems begin to look like nails.” There is nothing wrong with this approach. But exhibits are not nails and exhibit marketing requires more than just a hammer.

Are some exhibit products becoming commodities, such as banner stands and pop ups? Perhaps. However, there are tools you purchase at Barney’s Bargain Barn because you only need them to last 4-5 times and you don’t care that Barney doesn’t know much about tools, construction, or warranties. There are other tools that need to last years. Those tools are of a higher quality, and you purchase them at Fred’s Hardware. Fred makes sure you get the right tool and honors the warranty should it break. Trade show exhibits are no different. You get what you pay for.

3. The last website, which for lack of a better term, I’ll call the Business Relationship Websites.

These websites mirror my personal approach. The goal is to build a relationship with the customer to the point where they want to call and talk about solutions to problems or to find a method of reaching a goal. The person is willing to measure past results and change the path based on the results needed. They are generally interested in design and trade show marketing, and not simply products. This suits my taste. I want to talk to experts and this type of website seems to communicate that type of relationship.

This is like the car dealership who says, “We have a lot of different methods of transportation, from trucks to hot rods, from a used Vega to a new Cadillac, but after we sit down and decide what works best for you and your budget, we are going to be there to service you and take care of you long after the sale.”

What kind of website do you have? What websites do you purchase from and why?

–Reid Sherwood

Word on the Street — August 3rd thru August 7th

August 7th, 2009 COMMENTS
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

The Evolution of Design Search

Most of you have had some experience with Classic Exhibits’ Design Search. Design Search has proven to be one of the most powerful tools on the web to explore displays, exhibit photos, and trade show tips.

The idea, originally, was simple. Create a tool where a distributor or end user could search a database of exhibit designs by size, price, and keyword. But like all good ideas, it quickly morphed into much, much more.

We realized that this would be a valuable tool on the Classic site, but very quickly recognized that it could also be a valuable tool on any Distributor’s website. We could brand it so it matched their website graphics and retained their navigation — All for only $300!!

Over the past two and a half years, over 90 Distributors have added Design Search, automatically giving them access to 21 product galleries, a searchable database of both renderings and photos, rental options as well as distributor specific communication tools like Design Request, Send Me More Information, and the ability to email specific designs directly from Design Search to clients.

Again . . . all for $300!

Over the past few months, we have added new features that make Design Search even better!

Design Search Galleries

Design Search Galleries

We added Product Galleries for several Optima Graphics products and Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits designs. These additions give Design Search even more product depth! We also added a Top 12 Slideshow button to the Home Page which shows the Top 12 most popular designs within Design Search.

Have a client with either a “Quick Ship” or “Tight Budget”? You can easily click to either Quick Ship displays or Quarterly Specials and find just what you need.

As you can probably tell, we are very proud of Design Search. If you do not have Design Search on your website, you may want to consider it. Once it’s in place, we handle all the maintenance by updating it with new designs, adding new features, and constantly tweaking the design details, graphic dims, and setup instructions. We do this all behind the scenes so you don’t have to.

Concerned with SEO and Web Optimization for your website? Design Search is highly optimized with the latest technology and focused on keywords to help your listing on Google. 

Check it out and let us know what you think. If you are interested in adding Design Search to you website, feel free to contact Mel White at for more information.

Have a great and restful weekend

Be Well!

–Kevin Carty

Search for Exhibit Photos in P5D — New Feature

May 14th, 2009 COMMENTS
Past Five Days -- Search Thru Over 1000 Exhibit Photos

Past Five Days -- Search Over 1000 Exhibit Photos

On April 13, we posted “Past Five Days — Reviewing Photos in P5D” where we discussed the history and features of Classic’s daily photo log. Past Five Days has been a permanent feature on Classic Exhibits website, and on all distributor versions of Design Search, since September 19, 2006. Over that time, we’ve made multiple incremental improvements. Today’s improvement is anything but incremental.

New Photo Search Function

We’ve added search functionality. Now you can search the entire P5D database by size and/or keyword. We all know the expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Too often, the challenge is finding the just right picture or photo. When it comes to trade show exhibit design, you may prefer renderings, but someone else in your organization may prefer photos. Now both options are available for many Classic Exhibits’ designs.

Say, for instance, you like Visionary Designs VK-1032 Hybrid Exhibit. Click here to see the rendering. “Very cool,” you say to yourself, but you wonder if there is a photo available in P5D that shows a “real” version of VK-1032. In this case, there is. Not just one, but seven separate entries for this design. Click here to see one of those photos. Not every photo will be complete with graphics. After all, those photos are taken in our Setup Area, and it’s not uncommon for us to ship displays without the graphics. The graphics may have been shipped directly to the client, or the photo was taken before the graphics were installed. It happens. Also, it’s important to remember that P5D is a sampling of orders. Not all orders. So, not every kit on Classic’s website has a corresponding photo.


Past Five Days — Reviewing Photos in P5D

April 13th, 2009 1 COMMENT
Visionary Designs Photo in P5D

Visionary Designs Photo in P5D

On 09/23/06, we started an experiment when we launched Past Five Days (P5D). We decided to publish photos  of exhibits, components, and accessories on Classic Exhibits. Mostly, we used the photos taken in our QC Setup Area, but occasionally we used photos from the Rental Setup area. We couldn’t publish every exhibit, which would be unrealistic, but we did want to show representative designs in as close to real time as possible. At the time, it seem risky for two reasons.

  1. We would be showing exhibits, not as perfect renderings or as show photos, polished to perfection just minutes before the trade show opens, but as exhibits (often) without the final graphics and the client’s product accessories and collateral.
  2. We would be sharing new designs and innovations with anyone who happened to click on Past Five Days. Including our competitors. However, we quickly realized that the benefit of sharing far out weighed the risk of espionage.

Two and half years later, P5D seems obvious. Distributors and clients want to see photos in addition to renderings, even if those photos are of displays still in production. Renderings are the lifeblood of the exhibit design process. They allow us to illustrate concepts relatively quickly, in both the purchase and design phase.  But renderings are renderings. Photos are photos. We need to see both in order to make intelligent decisions about which display to purchase and which exhibit manufacturer to purchase from.

Several months ago, we decided to make the entire P5D photo database available via a dropdown menu. Before that, you could only see photos from the previous five days. It was a good concept, in theory, since it forced distributors and customers to visit our website frequently. However, in practice, customers search for a new display when they need a new display. It’s not like window shopping for shoes or a new car, where you keep on eye on the latest trends.

You can find P5D in two places on Classic’s website. There is an image link on the left hand side, below the Design Monday and the Ask Classic image links. Or, if you are in Design Search, there is a “Photo” button below the “Show/Hide Product Galleries” link. Once in P5D, you have two options. You can browse through the gallery by week ending. Simply click on the drop down menu for “Show Week Ending” and select a week. There are “Back” and “Forward” commands on the top and bottom of each page if you want to bypass the drop down menu and scroll from week to week more quickly. If you want to view P5D randomly, you may want to use the “P5D Randomizer” which arbitrarily selects dates from the P5D database. I really like the “Randomizer” but I may be the only person who enjoys the “Do It Again” feature. You can request information about any of the photos in P5D by clicking on the “Send Me More Information” link.

What’s in the works for P5D. A search tool. Expect to see the Search Tool no later than Summer 2009.

–Mel White

Design Search — Using the My Gallery Feature

April 12th, 2009 COMMENTS
Issa Perfect 10 Portable Hybrid Display

Issa Perfect 10 Portable Hybrid Display

One of the most used features on Classic’s website is Design Search. And the one of the most useful tools in Design Search is My Gallery. At first glance, this feature is both obvious and straightforward. And it is. However, you may not know that My Gallery can be used for Design Requests and that selective designs within My Gallery can be sent to a recipient.

On its most basic level, any exhibit within Design Search can be added to My Gallery.  Your (My) Gallery is saved via a cookie on your computer, and as long as you don’t clear your cookies, you can maintain  items in your gallery indefinitely. The My Gallery button with a count (+1) appears in upper right hand section of Design Search once you add the first item.

When you open your gallery, you’ll notice a checkbox. Gallery designs are automatically checked. Checked designs are active, meaning you can send those designs to someone via email or attach them to a Design Request (which we’ll explain a little later). Unchecked designs are not sent. For example, you can have 10 designs in My Gallery and send four to one person and eight to another simply by checking or unchecking the boxes.