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Rich Media for Your Website Wow customers by adding rich media elements to your website.

By Melissa Campanelli

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Now that most of your customers have broadband, your site should offer rich media features such as zoom, virtual e-catalogs and dynamic color-swatching. "It's basically a must-have for many retailers, especially those where touch and feel are critical to product conversion," says Sucharita Mulpuru, a senior analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "Anyone in this space who doesn't have features such as zoom and alternative views is seen as being really behind."

A host of companies offer low-cost tools that make it easy to add rich media to your site. Virtual Iris, for one, sells software for enhancing pictures, e-mails and websites with next-generation rich media elements. Prices range from free (for basic use of the company's website) to monthly licensing fees of several thousand dollars for downloadable enterprise desktop products.

Another company, ActivePoint, offers contextual e-catalogs and reporting tools for e-commerce. The company's Easy-Flip E-Catalogue starts at $65 per page with links; hosting is charged based on traffic. Meanwhile, ActivePoint's TX5 system creates interactive online presentations that incorporate rich media elements and guide customers through a website, helping them find the product they want even if they don't know its exact name. The base price for TX5 is $5,000 per system or about $900 per month, depending on usage.

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