October 6, 2004, 12:00 AM

Online content management: a job and now, a strategic opportunity

Scene7 is taking six top e-commerce sites live with dynamic imaging, replacing static image and graphic management systems. Getting off the treadmill of manual pre-production of visual content frees time to improve creativity, says CEO Doug Mack.

Content management is moving beyond just a necessary function into the realm of a strategic opportunity at e-commerce sites as new technology frees the web team from wrangling graphics, images and art manually, allowing them to focus on more creative content presentation, Scene7 Inc. CEO Doug Mack tells Internet Retailer.

Scene7 is currently taking half a dozen major e-commerce sites live with its dynamic imaging platform, he adds. That will move them from a system of manually pre-producing and storing large numbers of static images formatted to fit different sizes of web page templates to a system in which the web server generates the needed image, on demand, from a single master image. Dynamic imaging will become standard among e-commerce’s leaders within two to three years, Mack predicts, given that consumers’ expectations about products’ visual presentation on web sites are continually rising.

Dynamic imaging tackles the problem of what Mack calls “image proliferation” at merchants. “The amount of images merchants manage and share has gone up dramatically,” he says. “Consumers today expect that you will show them every product, with all kinds of rich information, updated 24/7. The web had added that complexity.”

Automating image production and management dynamically allows online merchants to reduce the time spent on lower-level creative work such as photo shopping images and instead focus on how to better photograph original content, in effect, “spending time on strategic imaging rather than tactical imaging,” says Mack. “As you get off the treadmill of trying to pre-generate all the content and get it up on the site in a static format, you can focus on fewer, better images.”

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