This is our second post looking at Draper’s three platinum level Residential Systems’ Stellar Service Awards. This time we will focus on Draper’s stellar website and online services, voted best in the industry by the magazine’s readers.
We’re pretty proud of our website here at Draper. We were the first screen manufacturer to design an adaptive and responsive website. www.draperinc.com is a one-stop shop, with easily accessible Information from photos to pricing to technical documentation.
I asked Penny Sitler, Draper’s Advertising Manager, to let me in on the secret to Draper’s online success.
“Unlike most manufacturers in the AV industry, we do all of our website design, development, and programming in-house, right in the marketing department,” was her answer. “So we are as close as we can get to the customers. We work hard to stay in tune with our customers’ needs and interests, and provide the right set of tools.”
So, you mean that many other companies don’t do their own websites? You surprise me, Penny! But seriously, staying in tune with our customers and their needs is more important than ever in today’s commercial AV and home cinema industries.
“We are continually working to make our website more user-friendly,” says Draper Web Designer Gini Deaton. “We get comments and suggestions from our users all the time and look at each one with the view to working on problems and updating the site to keep it as error free as we can.”
Gini and Web Developer Vince Shockney are the people responsible for building, designing, and maintaining Draper’s website. Vince agrees with Penny and Gini that knowing what our customers need and meeting those needs is key.
“We’re constantly looking to improve the website from several perspectives. We look at the website user experience, advances in Internet technology, security and changes in the AV industry,” Vince says. “Our website has a feedback form on nearly every page. We encourage its use and like to know how the website can grow to help our customers and industry professionals.
2014 was a very busy year for Draper’s web team, supported by all members of the advertising department. One of the major developments involves making the site user-friendly across emerging platforms.
“In the last year or so we have rebuilt the site to be mobile responsive so that it resizes to fit just about any mobile phone or tablet,” Gini says. “Vince just completed a total overhaul of the basic structure of the site and has noticed a huge difference in the loading speed.”
“We had realized that the previous technology had been pushed to its limit,” Vince says about the total infrastructure change. “Over the last few months we have invested nearly 1,000 hours, written over 50,000 lines of code, and moved the website to Microsoft’s Azure cloud service. These changes will permit us to create more sophisticated tools and applications to assist our website visitors.”
Another really helpful upgrade has been a revamp of the retail pricing area of projection screens. Now you can find retail pricing by part number, surface and format, and using either imperial or metric measurements.
One of the major efforts that Penny likes to underline involves a specific area of our website—a major expansion of the Draper Pro Portal.
“Registering for the Pro Portal offers extra tools and value to any website visitor, but especially to Draper dealers who register with their Draper account number,” she says. Some of the handy tools that we have put on the Pro Portal include: a newly revised Projection Planner—which is a great tool for matching the perfect screen surface and size to the room and projector using InfoComm’s ANSI standard on image contrast as a guide; a full set of price list reference files; the ability to see inventory levels; instant order status and shipment tracking; and a fully indexed library of downloadable files for images, technical drawings, reference tools and more. Very impressive, indeed! But, she says, that’s not all.
“We launched an all-new Continuing Education section on the site. Visitors can link to or make appointments for classes, and also read from our growing library of white papers and case studies.”
Another new resource is a request site (request.draperinc.com).
“This site lets users view flip books, download pdfs and even order hard copies from our library of catalogs, brochures and fabric samples for free,” according to Gini. “This should really streamline the process of getting samples and literature from us.”
The new request site is helpful but I especially appreciate one more bit of work the web folks have worked on this year.
“We completely rebuilt the Home Theater area of our website to make it more end user friendly,” Gini reminds us (hometheater.draperinc.com). “It has some really great information for those wanting to know how to set up a home theater, what products are best for different types of rooms, how to control ambient light and more.”
Well done to Vince, Gini, Penny, and everyone who contributes content to our award-winning website! Visit www.draperinc.com yourself and see what all we have to offer!