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Dear Brand Manufacturer, give me product images. Signed, Retailer

coach-blog-200Have you ever purchased a product without actually seeing it? Most online retailers have some form of imagery to provide visibility into what you’re purchasing, but how many have brilliant product photos?

In fact, research has shown that 77% of online shoppers are ‘very to somewhat’ influenced by the quality of content (descriptions, copy, images, and tools) when making purchase decisions.

Unfortunately, manufacturers today often provide poor or limited photography and video assets if any at all, meaning that every online retailer has to reshoot the product images they want for their website.

Some retailers, such as Sears and Kohl’s (which use multiple images, zoom with color, and flyout zoom), do a great job of creating product images for their customers, allowing them to have a tangible experience with a product without actually touching it.

Other sites may not have the resources to include high-quality photos and videos. In this case, both the brand manufacturer and the retailer lose out because the products may not inspire the same excitement that they would if the browser could get a better view.

Many brand manufacturers invest significant creative energy in developing rich immersive experiences that include multiple vantage points.

These experiences give viewers a great feel for the product while they’re sitting at home on the couch.

Coach is one example. When browsing this company’s handbags recently, I selected the Bleecker Mini Brooklyn Messenger Bag and had incredible views of the product. There was plenty of imagery to coach me through to purchase. I particularly like that the website includes a picture of the inside of the bag.

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That particular image jumped out at me because I was also recently looking at the Headwaters Gear Bag from Simms, a fly fishing gear manufacturer.

The website shows a nice high-resolution zoomed-in image of the outside of the bag, but it doesn’t show me the inside, which I need to view so I can determine if it will help me organize all the stuff I plan to put in it.

Now, before I go further, I feel compelled to explain how I went from a luxury brand manufacturer primarily targeting women to a rough and gruff outdoor gear company from Montana… Well, I love bags! (Note to wife: No honey, I’m not buying you the new Bleecker.)

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I actually found the Simms Headwaters Gear Bag on Backcountry.com. The company had a great sale on the bag recently, and I almost purchased it.

What kept me from converting? You got it, I wanted to see inside.

I met with some of the folks from Backcountry.com and shared my dilemma with them. They enthusiastically agreed that they’d love to show me the inside of the bag, as well as side views, 360-degree spin views, and videos narrated by their gearheads; however, they sell a tremendous amount of gear from many manufacturers and have to shoot much of the imagery for the site themselves at their cost.

I started thinking about all the other retailers that might be selling this fly fishing bag and other similar (and not so similar) items.

Many industries face the same challenge with their products. It’s clear: The industry needs to collaborate!

Ideally, retail sites would include all of the video and image features consumers love, including dynamic imaging, multiscreen experiences, responsive and interactive viewers, real-time previews, and interactive viewing, and these would be provided by the manufacturers themselves.

coach_2-blog-fullThere is a great opportunity for brand manufacturers to provide these assets (i.e., product images, videos, and beyond) to retailers via a digital media portal (digital asset management, or DAM).

This portal would allow all of their retail partners to maximize the customer experience and minimize costs across the ecommerce industry.

It’s also much more feasible for manufacturers to provide the assets because they’re typically already shooting these images and video for their own digital experiences, and the effort to share the assets with their retail channel would be minimal.

Better still, the availability of high-resolution, well-branded products across thousands of retail sites can lead to increased sales for the brand.

There are also many benefits for the online retailer. When great product images and videos are provided, the retailer will spend less time shooting images and have more time and resources for campaigns, merchandising, etc.

Some retailers will still want to shoot custom shots that might merchandise multiple products together to highlight a holiday or sale, but if they can begin with high-quality assets from the brand manufacturers themselves, they can spend more energy on creating compelling visuals.

Hours upon hours of time might be saved, and photography costs will no longer be a worry, leading to a greater focus on branding and conversions. Not to mention, the retailer can then spend more time creating different iterations and do more personalization and testing.

How has your company used product images? Are you a retailer that has found it difficult to get what you need from manufacturers in terms of images and video and taken your own photos? Leave a comment below.

Originally posted by Darin Archer from the Econsultancy Blog

Rence Winetrout

Rence Winetrout

Chief Digital Officer at AAXIS
Rence Winetrout brings nearly 20 years of experience leading Multi-Channel Commerce, Marketing, and e-Business initiatives for premium, global consumer brands in a wide variety of industries, including luxury goods, apparel, footwear, accessories, sporting goods, consumer electronics, and digital goods. Rence is the CMO and SVP of Commerce Strategy for AAXIS Commerce.
Rence Winetrout

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