Web Design

E-commerce Insights: Don’t Waffle Around With Your Web Site
December 1, 2008

The Internet isn’t pink, and it’s certainly not gray. It’s pure black and white. Users want Web sites to be like grocery stores: It doesn’t matter which supermarket you go to in the U.S. — whether it’s a Piggly Wiggly in South Carolina, Safeway in Seattle or Shop ’n Save in Maine — you know milk will be near the eggs, flour close to the sugar and the bananas in the vicinity of the apples. You don’t expect ice cream in the dog food aisle or pickles sandwiched between puppy chow and cat litter. A typical grocery store is full of absolutes. Same

The MarketLive Performance Index v5: Focus on Engagement
September 3, 2008

Customer Engagement: Solid product discovery and site navigation are key to engagement. The MarketLive Performance Index v5: Focus on Engagement is now available! Refine familiar tactics to yield greater results. * Improve internal site search capabilities * Navigation that sells * Relevancy strategies * Better engagement and conversion Get your free copy!

Creative Cut
July 1, 2008

Note: Consistent with the issue’s focus on e-commerce/technology, this month’s Creative Cut focuses on a Web site. Many niche marketers thrive on the Web. If you have a very specialized product or target market, you can build a successful online business that grows by word-of-mouth, search engine marketing, and, at times, small catalogs or print materials. This requires a well-honed site that speaks directly to your market with a clear message that you’re an expert at what you do. The following is a look at ways FlagClothes.com could enhance its Web site to become the true leader in flag-based, patriotic products. Homepage At

Special Report: E-Commerce & Catalog Technology: A Gift for All Seasons
July 1, 2008

It may be hot outside, but savvy merchants are already contemplating sleighs and snowflakes. With the holiday season comprising fully a third of all online sales, according to Forrester Research, now’s the time to begin building the strategies that will propel year-end success. But we’re not only talking holiday season here. Half of all online buying is for other people at any time of the year, according to Forrester. So multichannel merchants should adapt successful holiday gifting tactics for year-round use during seasonal peaks and special events. To be successful, your gifting strategy must be carefully planned and woven into the fabric of

E-Commerce Insights: Get to ‘Yes’
July 1, 2008

Do your site’s sign-up forms read like a bungled attempt at getting a date? You: Hi, would you like to get coffee? Visitor: Umm … sure. OK. You: Great! LET’S GET MARRIED! I love kids! I want a big wedding, then a week in Hawaii. Two girls and a boy, (after I make partner). Now Wednesday is poker night; can we spend every other Christmas with my mom? I like to garden, cook and … Visitor: You’re scaring me. Please go away now. Of course, you’re not that clueless about relationships. But your site may be. The No. 1 mistake marketers make

6 Steps to a Successful Web Site Redesign — How PBS Did It
June 17, 2008

As a company best known for its videos and call-in television programs, PBS decided it needed to upgrade its Web site if it had visions of success in a future dominated by multichannel organizations. The nonprofit network did have an e-commerce site, but it wasn’t very effective. It was out-of-date, text-heavy and hard to navigate. A redesign was in order. In a session at last week’s Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, Andrea Downing, PBS’s vice president of home entertainment and partnerships, disclosed the company’s six-step process to its successful Web site redesign. 1. Take the time to plan. Noting that

B-to-B Sites Follow B-to-C in User Functionality and Benefits
June 3, 2008

Lately you’ve probably noticed that more and more B-to-B direct marketers are adding various Web 2.0 social networking functions to their online marketing efforts. Office Depot, for example, allows you to share one of its products with your network via Facebook, DiggThis and del.icio.us. It also allows you to review a product and read the product reviews of others, both good and bad.
I’ve also noticed many more product videos cropping up on YouTube. Try searching for industrial tools or forklifts, for example. YouTube isn’t just for funny or entertaining videos anymore. Very useful videos on how to find, buy and use various

E-Commerce Insights: AJAX - Hero of E-Commerce?
June 1, 2008

I chose to devote this month’s column to AJAX, the scorching-hot technology that catalogers should become fully familiar with, if they’re not already. So let’s cut right to the chase and answer six key questions about AJAX. 1. Just what is AJAX? Beyond the Greek hero in the Trojan War, AJAX is a Web programming acronym coined by Web expert Jesse James Garrett in 2005. It stands for “Asynchronous JavaScript and XML.” What, you didn’t understand that little string of technobabble? Let’s take each concept in turn: Asynchronous means the browser can exchange data with your server without reloading the entire page.

Nail the Landing
April 1, 2008

Landing pages are the Rodney Dangerfield of most Web sites — they get no respect. Catalogers agonize over what words to use in a paid-search ad. They work the creative department to the point of rebellion to send out another e-mail. They give away prime, expensive space in their catalogs to promote their Web sites. But when it comes time to direct this precious Web traffic, most simply say, “Find a page on the site that will work.” To quote Rodney again, “It ought to be against the law!” Smart catalogers have figured out that they can double profits by creating targeted landing pages

E-Commerce Insights: Use Online Testing to Increase Print Catalog Response Rates
March 1, 2008

This article assumes that insights gained from Web testing lead to effective print catalog presentations. That is our “Big Assumption.” If you disagree, skip to the next article. No hard feelings; see you next month. Still reading? Good. There are two decent reasons to accept this Big Assumption. First, the Web is so prevalent that the demographics of Web shoppers are pretty much the same as the demographics of all direct shoppers, making the Big Assumption reasonable. Second, the Web offers catalogers their first chance to do real testing. While many catalogers think they’ve been testing for years, they really haven’t been