Narrative Impulse service targets last-minute buys

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Narrative Communications Corp. today announces two products to spark impulse buying online. Narrative's Enliven/Impulse service allows customers to place orders and enter major credit-card data directly into a banner, while its Enliven/HardCopy service allows marketers to distribute literature on demand printed through banners. Both Java-based services simplify the sales process, make banners more interactive and avoid drawing visitors off of a hosting Web site, Narrative said.

Narrative's partners for the Enliven/Impulse service are 1-800-Flowers, Eddie Bauer Inc. and Godiva Chocolatier.

Until recently, online advertisers have often used clickthrough to measure their ad message and media buy, which doesn't always account for impulse buying.

"We're definitely looking to increase conversion," said Rebecca Kovrlija, 1-800-Flowers' marketing manager for interactive programs. "The more clicks to the product, the lower the conversion to the product."


Last week, 1-800-Flowers launched Enliven/Impulse banners on the Associated Press, iVillage, PCWorld, Switchboard, and ThirdAge Web sites. It exceeded expectations with more than 40 orders the first day. 1-800-Flowers now has plans to place similar banners on Excite and WebCrawler.

In a few animated screens, the new banner lets the customer place an order in about a minute.

Enliven/HardCopy is the result of a collaborative design effort with Hewlett-Packard Co. It allows advertisers to design sales literature for the Internet that more closely resembles their branding and corporate identity image.


Jim Lyons, product marketing manager for HP's Internet Solutions Personal LaserJet Division, feels that the role of hard copy or printed literature is changing, but there's still the need to "write things down on a spec sheet." With one-click literature distribution through a banner ad, customers no longer have to tolerate print problems, hunt through a site for product specs, or wait for literature sent via fax or mail.

"These two products are for entirely different buying patterns on the Web," said Lori Dustin, VP of marketing for Narrative. But in the case of a company like HP, Enliven/Impulse and Enliven/HardCopy can be combined, for example, to allow a customer to enter his ZIP code to locate nearby dealers, then print out a data sheet to take comparison shopping.

Jim Nail, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, said Narrative is on the right path. "I think they have got a very strong strategy and a couple of very interesting products that they have targeted very intelligently to meet specific marketing objectives," he said.

Copyright May 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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