Virtual Expo deepens product details

DirectIndustry.com provides a virtual industrial exhibition accessible in five languages. This B2B site presents a large collection of industrial equipment and components available on the international market.

DirectIndustry.comIN THIS ERA of globalization and growing Internet use, attendance at broad-based automation tradeshows declines every year. So it’s not surprising that the concept of providing a “virtual” product exhibition hall on the web has been attempted more than once during this time.

One of the more successful companies doing it, DirectIndustry.com, has spent five years making its website the one to visit for this type of virtual industrial exhibition. Accessible in five languages, this B2B site presents a large collection of the industrial equipment and components available on the international market.

Now, DirectIndustry.com is launching a new version of its portal, which the company says boosts the depth of its product specifications, and increases its exhibitors. It adds that more than 300,000 pages have been enriched with new specifications, which is a seven-fold increase in information previously available. The company states that more than 2,000 new exhibitors worldwide have joined the portal during the past eight months.

DirectIndustry.com is aimed at industry professionals in purchasing, R&D, production, and maintenance. The company says it offers an accurate, up-to-date source of information, wherever the visitor is located. For example, three tools on the website are designed to help visitors find the product or company they want to explore quickly and easily.

“We’ve worked hard to establish a detailed list of equipment categories and sub-categories, a powerful keyword search engine, and a comprehensive, alphabetical list of manufacturers and suppliers,” says Corentin Thiercelin, DirectIndustry’s CEO. For each company exhibiting on the site, a visitor can view a comprehensive product list, access its website, and/or request documentation or a quotation.

“DirectIndustry.com is an industrial portal designed by engineers for engineers, so we’re always looking for new ways to improve the site by anticipating their needs,” adds Thiercelin.

This new initiative places detailed product information at the heart of the research process, “as requested by our visitors,” adds Thiercelin. “With 5,500 manufacturers exhibiting more than 70,000 products, the challenge was to add more specification without impacting the site’s overall ergonomics. We think we have the right balance.”

To safeguard its ergonomic navigation, the site’s fundamentals remain largely unchanged, but provide more product specification information at the point of visitor interest. The company believes this will enable visitors to send more targeted requests, and allow manufacturers to reply rapidly and effectively.

“To meet the challenge of updating increased content, we’ve reinforced our technical team,” says Thiercelin. “In collaboration with exhibitors, the team will cover the major new technological and product developments across all industrial sectors to constantly enrich the site.”

Asked what he believes makes the search experience at DirectIndustry.com better, Thiercelin argues that it has a lot to do with keeping the site fast and intuitive. “If you search our site by keyword, for example ‘infrared sensor,’ you’ll get a list of product images in order of keyword relevance,” he says. “Do the same on other industrial portals, and you’ll get a text-only list of companies in alphabetical order. That makes no sense.” Thiercelin also maintains that other sites mix in distributors and resellers with manufacturers, so you really don’t know whose products you’re viewing.

Prior to this new initiative, the site launched a keyword searchable PDF library with more than 3,000 PDFs (comprising more than 90,000 searchable pages of technical data) on the premise that engineers rarely want to look at an entire catalog. “You can keyword search a dense, 400-page catalog and find the right page or pages in seconds,” says Thiercelin.

Thiercelin vows to keep the site focused on the products. “We won’t clog the site with local phone numbers, pricing information, pop-ups, promotions, etc.,” he says. “Of course, none of this would mean anything if the vast content wasn’t kept up to date. Keeping it so remains the ongoing priority of our technical team.”


  Product Exclusive
For more information about DirectIndustry.com's “virtual” product exhibition hall on the web, browse to www.directindustry.com.
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