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10 Great Websites: Shawfloors.com

September 13, 2010 - 9:26 am EDT
   
 
   
 
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  • Company: Shaw Floors

    URL: shawfloors.com

    Target audience: Architects, interior designers, resellers, retailers and consumers

    Key Web executive: Todd Callaway, interactive marketing manager

    Number of people who work on the site: 8

    Last major redesign: 2006

    No. of pages on the site: More than 2,000

    Web developer: In-house and digital agency Resource Interactive, Columbus, Ohio

    At one time, flooring manufacturer Shaw Floors' website was nothing more than "brochureware," said Todd Callaway, interactive marketing manager. Today, however, the site has grown into what Callaway calls a "true interactive experience," where construction and design professionals as well as consumers can come to virtually "see" the company's many flooring lines.

    Visitors can enter the site by flooring type—carpet, area rugs, tile and stone, hardwood or laminate—or do a search for what they need. "Most people come to the site knowing what they are looking for," Callaway said, "so we wanted to let them get there as quickly as possible."

    One of the most popular areas, Try on a Floor, lets users upload digital images of their rooms and swap their flooring for any Shaw product, as well as add new rugs and wall colors to the image.

    Images on the site are extremely detailed and can be turned and manipulated so a designer, for example, can show a client what the pile of a carpet looks like or how deep it is. "The photos are as realistic an impression you can get. You can zoom in and see flecks of color and the grain of the wood," Callaway said.

    Shaw Web Studio is a separate site. There is a link on the main site to get there. It is as described: a site to download collateral so retailers can build their own sites.

    Some of the best resources for resellers aren't obvious. For example, this year the company launched Shaw Web Studio (http://mygreatfloors.com), a separate website where retailers—-many of which are mom-and-pop stores—can download collateral to build their own sites. "This lets them leverage the photography, the catalog engines—all the data we've amassed over the years. We've bundled it to allow retailers to build their own sites using our tools," he said. "So many retailers don't have the time or money to build their own online presence, so this really helps them."

    Expert commentary, Vidya L. Drego, senior analyst, customer experience, Forrester Research: The site has robust functionality and makes great use of multimedia and rich Web applications. You can take a photo of a floor and put the company's flooring over it to see how it would look. That's incredibly compelling. They solve a common problem that many companies have—actually being able to envision a product in use. The images are compelling, too. You get plenty of minute details; you can view a flooring product from the side, underneath [or] from above. The navigation is strong since you can select product right away rather than having to dig to find what you're looking for.

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