Visitors to Amazon.com on April 14 saw something they hadn't seen before. After the Amazon homepage loaded, a model in a spring dress strode across the screen. She turned and smiled directly at the viewer before gesturing at the "Spring Dresses" promo and walking off the page.
That one moment changed the rules of online visual merchandising.
The Old Rules
Similar things had been done before but not on the world's largest e-commerce site. Outside of niche sites, mainstream visual merchandising had played by a restrictive rulebook.
What were those old rules? Things are changing so fast that remembering them may be hard.
In the old world, video was directed to stay within the confines of the player box. Different types of visual media—video, spin photography, and interactive elements—rarely mixed. Each type was to be displayed in its own player or in a legacy platform that kept the different media players separate.
The fourth wall was rarely broken. Visual elements waited patiently for a click of permission rather than sauntered out, unbidden, to look the visitor in the eye.
New Rules, Not Just New Tools