Summit aims to boost conversions with site relaunch

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Last September, Summit Publishing Co.—which, among other titles, publishes Packaging World and Shelf Impact! magazines and Web sites—introduced a new brand called Global Package Gallery (, a paid-subscription site for packaging designers that contains more than 6,000 high-resolution packaging images. Through search engine optimization and an e-newsletter, Summit was able to build traffic for the gallery, attracting more than 50,000 unique visitors a month.

The challenge was getting visitors to buy subscriptions at the rate Summit expected.

“We don’t have a problem getting people to the site,” said David Newcorn, VP-emedia. “We have a challenge getting them to pry open their wallets.” Newcorn declined to divulge the conversion rate.

Like any paid-subscription content site owner, Newcorn wrestles with one big question: How much data can be exposed for free without giving away so much that potential subscribers get what they need and leave without paying?

His latest thinking on that dilemma—based on the response of users during the past 11 months—is reflected in the new, which was relaunched last Thursday.

The new redesign allows potential subscribers to go anywhere in the site and see anything. However, the content is ghosted and a window automatically follows readers, inviting them to take a video tour or a free trial.

“The window leads people to watch the video tour or take a 15-minute, all-access free trial,” Newcorn said.

That video demonstration, which was created by an outside company and is rendered in Flash, “was huge for us,” Newcorn said. “Previously, we were relying on pages of text to explain how GPG works. Now, we have a wonderful demonstration that only takes a minute.”

Another strategic change was the expansion of subscription options. Subscribers can now choose the original annual subscription at $395 or from a number of options priced from $19.95 to $395, which include one-day, monthly, one-time annual or a discounted auto-renewing annual subscriptions.

The images in the gallery come from editorial within Shelf Impact!and Packaging World, as well as images from b-to-b titles outside the U.S. with which Summit Publishing has partnered. In addition, Summit has hired photographers in 20 countries to submit high-quality photos of CPG packages.

Although designers and marketers can submit packaging photos, “We want to have editorial control over the metadata,” Newcorn said. “We have a curator who decides where the images go and how the headline and descriptions are structured.”

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