Don't remember if I called my Thursday posts Smart Women Online, or not, but that's what they'll be from now on. Oh, when they aren't Smart Men Online. I will be alternating between women and men. This is my attempt to accomplish several things; 1) To showcase some smart women who know their way around the Internet, or some smart women who don't but are learning; 2) To showcase some smart men who know their way around the Internet and have both feet planted firmly in THIS century--in other words, they like women as much as women like them; 3) get some good Web sites and companies noticed by my readers. So, for this week's Smart Woman Online, let me introduce Kelly Papinchak, Communications Director atSchipul-The Web Marketing Company.
Lip-sticking: Kelly, why did you choose technology as a career? The Web, in particular?
Kelly: As a public relations practitioner, I am attracted to the strategy development behind not only public relations or media campaigns, but also the planning and design of a Web site and how it must relate to the organization’s culture and audiences. A Web site is not effective if people do not find it and if they can't use it to answer their questions or meet their needs. Before I began to work for a Web marketing company, I relied heavily on the Web for research, communication and purchasing purposes in both my job and my personal life. Now that I understand the power of the Web as relates to business, and how smart, yet impatient, Web users are, I am able to use this information to help clients profit from their Web sites by reaching their intended audiences.
Lip-sticking: Your company has software that aids businesses in CRM- customer relationship management--does it have the capability to break visits down by gender? If not, wouldn't that be useful information for businesses to have given the strength of the women's market online?
Kelly: At Schipul - The Web Marketing Company, we do produce a software product, Tendenci(TM), that powers Web sites, and helps organizations and businesses manage their relationships more efficiently online. It also provides valuable statistics and reports that determine if a Web site is successful in communicating with its audiences and meeting their needs. No, w don't break site visits down by gender, but I think that information would be useful to business owners, especially those who specifically target women.
Lip-sticking: Do you shop online? What requirements does a website have to have before you will buy?
Kelly: I shop frequently online. I prefer Web sites that appear to be well-known, incur high traffic and are trusted as a secure place to purchase items online. Before I will buy, a site must appeal to me with ease of shopping, minimal registration hassles and ease of payment. I buy a lot of gifts for others online, and if a site offers a way to personalize the gift with a note and wrapping paper, that is a big plus. Most of my friends and family who do not live near me know me as a “Web shopper” and expect that I will ship a gift directly to them from the Web instead of ordering it, wrapping it, and then taking it to a shipping outlet! I find receiving gifts sent directly from a Web site to still have involved thought and time on the sender’s behalf.
Companies that offer gift certificates online also score big points with me, as those also can be mailed directly to a recipient.
Lip-sticking: Most research shows that women are more verbal and communicative than men, do you agree? As the Communications Director at Schipul Technologies, has being a woman helped you in your work -- are you able to use your natural intuitive abilities to get the job done?
Kelly: I agree with the research, but I think there are exceptions to the rule. I've found myself to be an effective communicator with both men and women. It's my inclination to want to build and maintain relationships through constant communication. I think being open to communication has allowed me to be successful at Schipul. Web communication requires an extra step in educating clients that Web users respond to certain marketing fundamentals applied on the Web, and that if a site does not address users in an intelligent way, they will “click on” to a site that does!
Lip-sticking: Since my focus is women who shop online, tell us what bugs you about shopping online, and what you find pleasant about it.
Kelly: I find the online shopping experience to be quite pleasant. I order almost all of my clothes online, and I even purchased my bed online. Because I rarely have time to visit a store or shopping mall, the ability to buy my next work suit online appeals to me very much! Companies are very generous with return policies, as the disadvantage to clothing purchases online is that an outfit may or may not fit. Sizing guidelines provided by companies are almost always accurate in my experiences. I enjoy being able to purchase a new outfit, CD or book at midnight, when most stores are closed and I am just beginning to think about what I may need, knowing that I am also running out of time! The fact that the “Web is always open” is quite an attraction! There also is a responsibility to “click wisely” and not spend more than I budgeted in any given month, of course!
And there you have it, some smart talk from a smart lady in a smart company.
What's not to like about that?