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Bettering Your Shop's Website

(August 2007) posted on Mon Aug 06, 2007

How to make a print provider's online home stand out in the crowd.


By Gregory Sharpless

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The right-hand side of the popup screen allows you to choose which shop area you want to 'visit,' while the left-hand side of the screen provides you with a look at that area from a particular point of view. You can turn the 'camera' as you see fit. And you can jump from one area of the shop to another-from shipping and screen print, for instance, to wide format, to lobby and sales. A small control panel beneath the image in the pop-up window allows for easy navigation.

'We like to provide tours for as many of our customers and prospects as we can so they can see how the operation is run,' says Michael Garcia, OAI's president. 'In order to convey this information to more people, we decided to go with the virtual tour idea. When we contacted ad agencies and photographers to film such a tour, however, the price was running $20,000 to $25,000. We solved the problem by utilizing a photographer that does real-estate tours for the real-estate market. The price came in at under $2000.'

Big Image Graphics (www.bigimagegraphics.com) in Richmond, VA, also offers its own 'Virtual Tour' of two areas of its operation: the press room and the finishing room. Controls within the pop-up window allow the viewer to pan left and right (as well as up and down) and zoom in and out.

'With everyone so busy these days and travel so difficult at times, we know that some customers would not be able to physically make the trip to see us,' says Billy Johnston, president/CEO of Big Image Graphics. 'This gives them the opportunity to get a feel for who we are without having to leave their desk.'

And, at Austin Graphics (www.austingraphics.com) in Austin, TX, the shop has rigged up a live Web cam-'AG Production Cam'-on its production floor, allowing the site visitor to see what’s transpiring in one area of the production floor. The cam refreshes every 10 seconds on Firefox and Safari ('Internet Explorer and Netscape users view at your own risk!').


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