Business Specialty Products: Shoes For Crews and

GOLD: Catalog Channel

Shoes For Crews, Winter 2011

Shoes for Crews has a narrow product range: footwear tailored for people who spend a lot of time on their feet. It needs to explain why its footwear better meets those people’s needs than a pair of shoes they can pick up on sale at the nearest mall. And it needs to make the footwear, most of which is black and far from fashion-forward, look enticing. With its Winter 2011 catalog, Shoes for Crews did all that, and more.

WHY IT WON A GOLD: Prominent, straightforward testimonials from four customers were a key element of the opening spread. Additional testimonials appeared throughout the catalog, “with key words emphasized graphically to further drive home the benefits,” explained one judge, who dubbed the testimonials nothing short of “great.”

The judging panel thought the catalog’s visual presentation of its offering was great as well. The shoes were photographed and silhouetted to show off their soles as much as their uppers, in a variety of angles to create visual excitement and direct eye flow.

IDEA TO STEAL: The footers on the right-hand pages consistently displayed Shoes for Crews’ toll-free number and URL. Those on the left offered a rotating selection of effective promotional messages: “Comfort and durability 100% Guaranteed!”; “PayPal payment option online!”; “Order 24/7 including Sundays!” — Sherry Chiger

SILVER: Ecommerce Channel

Action Envelope’s ecommerce site,, serves business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients equally, with accounts for repeat customers and transparent guides for new customers. The site brings excitement and fun to what could otherwise be a dull subject.

WHY IT WON A SILVER AWARD: The site is strong, appealing, professional and well organized, with a lot more color and flair than you might expect from a rather dry product category. The shopping tools, customization (printing) and preview tools are well constructed and user friendly.

The copy seems to strike the right note of being positive and informative without being too dry on the one side, or over-the-top on the other. “Very helpful, and nicely styled for legibility on the web,” a judge said.

The cross-selling feature for matching products is clear and easy to use, and the site handles the many product specifications with ease. “It’s an easy site to shop without visual overload,” noted one of the judges.

WHY IT DIDN’T WIN A GOLD AWARD: It would help if this site had more action directives, a perpetual cart and an email sign-up program — especially for future triggers. “They do a good job with the foundation, but they could stand to be more aggressive in their sales approach,” a panelist said.

Another judge had issues with the email sign up. “The ‘join our mailing list’ button is unclear. Call it email unless you are capturing physical addresses, and be clear about what you are asking them to sign up for — is it promotions? A newsletter?” — TP

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