Ready For Rich Media

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2007-03-13 Print this article Print

Will a new e-commerce platform help the $400 million retailer, which gets 30% of its revenue from the Web, compete against the national big-box retailers?


Ready For Rich Media?

For electronic retailers like JR.com, rich media—online video and audio files, and product photos that can be changed by the user—is becoming increasingly common as broadband use jumps. A survey of 100 retail Web sites conducted during the fourth quarter of 2006 by The E-Tailing Group, a Chicago-based e-commerce consulting firm, showed that rich media was on the rise in a number of areas.

Among rich media features showing the largest increases in usage: online audio files were found on 41% of sites in the fourth quarter of 2006, up from 15% in the fourth quarter of 2005; streaming video, found on 38% of sites, up from 20%; color change, 46%, up from 34%; and alternative views of merchandise, 57%, up from 45%.

How do you determine if your e-commerce site would benefit from rich media? Lauren Freedman, president of The E-Tailing Group, suggests looking at these factors:

Have your competitors adopted rich media? If features such as streaming video are being used by all or most of them, you've pretty much got to join the parade.

Ccan you use things like video to replicate the best of the store experience? If so, go for it.

Will rich media really help you sell your product? "If you are selling something like Coach purses, you might find alternative photo views beneficial, but do you need video?" Freedman asks. Probably not.

Are elements like video and audio files going to pay for themselves as an investment? "Online video can be expensive," Freedman cautions. "You can expect to pay $100,000 and up."


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