Designers and marketers see both limitations and advantages in Web-site creative. The overarching limitation is a lack of control in the appearance of the end product because of differing technologies on consumers’ computers.
On the flip side, Web sites can be altered “on the fly,” making them a more dynamic place for testing and learning about customer preferences.
Deborah Kania is lead marketer at multichannel optical supplier Lens Express in Deerfield Beach, FL, co-author of “The Web Catalog Cookbook” and “The Internet World Guide to One-To-One Web Marketing,” and author of the upcoming book “Branding.com.”
She observes, “Two of the biggest changes to the creative process because of e-commerce are 1) shortened cycle times for design; and 2) marketers have more data to work with, more quickly, in terms of being able to react to successes and failures with efforts online.”
Kania says when Lens Express tests creative in its TV and direct mail channels, it usually takes a month to know what works. Comparatively, Web-site and online-advertising go’s can be separated from no’s in a week.
Off the Screen vs. Off the Page
What are the behavioral differences of consumers who shop online vs. from a catalog?
Glenda Shasho Jones, president and CEO of full-service catalog agency Shasho Jones Direct in New York, points out: “Obviously, a catalog comes to you; a Web site, you go to. So it’s a little different shopping mentality.”
She notes that consumers still see print catalogs as a relaxed shopping medium, because catalogs are portable and flippable. But online shopping means a heavily targeted search by the consumer, which can be a chore. So the challenges for a Web site are rivaling the comparative luxury of a print book and delivering pages as speedily as possible to the customer’s screen. Download speed depends on the user’s Internet connection, but smaller file sizes are always a good idea.