"How do you do 360/3D product spin"? This single question is why I started Snap36.
After spending ten years listening to major online retailers across North America and Europe ask this same question, and watching their eyes roll back in their heads when I presented a convoluted (truthful) answer, I realized there had to be a simpler way. I had been a start-up junkie for almost twenty years, but it had always been someone else's idea and someone else's money. Our latest start-up, Scene7, had been purchased by Adobe and I found myself trapped in a big company, with very little mobility and autonomy ("Not that there's anything wrong with that"). I had spent most of my career in imaging and the web, and truly love the challenges of enhancing the online user experience, and wanted to stay in the industry. I did extensive research and realized that most technology entrepreneurs parlay their day jobs into their next ventures, so I kept my eyes and ears open…and eventually got lucky.
In late 2008 I was presenting at an eCommerce Expo in Germany. After my presentation I was walking the trade show floor when I stumbled into a jam-packed booth, and there in front of me was the missing piece of the 360/3D spin pie; industrial-stength, Darth-Vader looking, photography robots that completely automated the 360 product photography process. Combining this technology with the Adobe-Scene7 solution or shotfarm.com created what every one of my clients had been asking for…an iPod-simple way to "do 360/3D product spin"! This breakthrough, combined with the confluence in the market toward mobile/tablet shoppers (using HTML5 viewers) and a new generation of users demanding higher imaging expectations, convinced me that this is what the world had been asking for…and Snap36 was born!
Today, the market is just at the beginning of the adoption cycle and we are in a market leading position, with customers such as Walmart, Home Depot, Kohls, Golfsmith, Smith Optics and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, among many. Finally, we can answer the question, "How do you do 360/3D product spin"?....which has led to a new #1 question from the marketplace, "Why isn't everyone doing this"?
Based upon the activity at our Booth last week at the IRCE 2012 Event in Chicago, the world of online Retailing and Manufacturing are more than ready to adopt 360 and 3D Spin in a big way. The feedback was across the board from "can I send you a couple of products to shoot" to "how and when can you shoot my 10,000 products" and everything in between. Not once did anyone say, "this is a bad idea" or "this won't work".
Simple. Scalable. Affordable.
The fact of the matter is, that with the recent convergence of three things, 360 and 3D Spin Photography is ready to explode:
1. The emergence of iPads and Smartphones as the Shopper's Device of Choice.
- Who doesn't want to flip and spin products with their fingers to interact before purchasing?
2. The availablity and ease-of-use of HTML5 Viewers in the Marketplace.
- Scene7 and Shotfarm both provide 360/3D viewers, and Liquid Pixels has 360.
3. The focus and expertise of Snap36 to pull together innovative photography robots, workflow software and a flexible business model to help every client deliver their project, no matter how big or small.
- Whether it's in our studio or at your site, with our people or yours, we provide the proper solution. Clients love the flexibility.
Interesting comments from the show:
"Why isn't everyone doing this"
"This will be the norm in three years"
"I can't believe how fast you can shoot products and how affordable Spin is now"
"You just moved to the front of my Project Priority List"
"Can I invest in Snap36"?
Let's face it, eCommerce sites have been using the same old, static imagery on their product pages for fifteen years. It's time for a change. The tectonic plates are shifting, and there are deep rumblings in the epicenter of eCommerce. It is only a matter of time before the world sees the results, which will be a tsunami rush of 360 and 3D spin imagery before them.
Three weeks ago I wrote a blog entitled, "Top 10 Reasons For Not Utilizing 360 Product Spin On A Website". Many people questioned me and asked why on Earth I would write such a negative article about the market that, in essence, we are trying to promote and build. I quickly explained to them that I wasn't writing about anything that anyone in the industry thinks is a mystery.....executing a 360 and 3D spin photography strategy is complicated, cumbersome and expensive....or at least IT USED TO BE! You see hassle, I see opportunity. You see cumbersome, I see simplified solution. You see expensive, I see expensive NOT TO DO IT....Let's take a look.
Number 10 - My products are too big...too little...too flimsy... too shiny... too many... too different... to shoot economically!
** Snap36 provides specific components to handle all, different types of products....from diamond rings to cars, strappy sandals to golf clubs, mannequins to grocery items. The robots are computer driven for precise and speedy photogrphy, allowing you to shoot tens to hundreds of products per day. Think it's not right for your products? We'll shoot it for free and help you determine the expected ROI.
Number 9 -It would be too expensive to ship my products to a studio...even though I have no idea how much a stamp costs these days!
Very good point. If you have large, cumbersome products or thousands of them, shipping can be an issue. That is why we provide our mobile POD (Photography on Demand) solution, where we will bring the studio directly to your facility to shoot your products. We can provide everything including cameras and photographers, or just the robotic equipment....you make the call.
Number 8 - We use Video instead of Spin....because I know how to run a video camera!
There is no doubt that Video is an effective eMarketing tool. Companies are seeing double digit uplift on products that are merchandised utilizing video. The same can be said for products utilizing 360 and 3D spin. Think about the interaction with a product. A video is perfect for a "how to" or to show real life uses and scenarios of a product, but it is a one-way broadcast. The user has no way to control the product interaction 360 and 3D spin provide this control. Think shoe salesperson directs me to the proper shoe and tells me all of the details....think video. Then you pick the shoe up, turn it over and around to examine the craftsmanship...think 360 and 3D spin. It's not an "OR", it's an "AND".
Number 7 -Our customers don't require our products to spin...or at least they haven't asked for it!
Customer satisfaction ratings go through the roof on sites that utilize 360 and 3D product spin. If your customers do not want an engaging experience, you are probably selling reams of paper.
Number 6 -We do Alternative Views instead, Spin is too complicated, cumbersome and overall really mysterious.
I am a big believer in Alternative Views....in fact, if you shoot your products using our 360 and 3D spin photography robots, you get your Alt Views for free. Also, if you just want to use the technology for your eight angles of Alt Views, we automate that process as well.
Number 5 -I would have to prove the ROI before management would buy in....as they are presently intoxicated with social, mobile and some other project du jour!
We have relevant ROI data from several of our customers, representing different product types. If this is not enough, come spend a couple of hours in our studio with a few products. We'll help you build your case for management....better yet....bring your management with you. As one customer said, "once you see these robots in action, this is a no-brainer"!
Number 4 -Our web team wouldn't know where to start to create a Spin Viewer....and it would take them to 2015 to deploy it if they did!
We have tight relationships with several Rich Media platform providers. We can help guide you to the right solution, whether it is Adobe Scene7, Liquid Pixels, RichFX or Shotfarm....or perhaps something completely different. Our background is deep in this industry.
Number 3 -The files would be too big and our bandwidth costs would go through the roof.... which would cut into our supply of Red Bull and Ho Ho's in the break room!
See my earlier blog on Image Servers....that's what they are for, to provide a way to serve up large files in a clever and efficient manner. You are right, you do not want 10MB files downloading to the browser...we have solutions for this.
Number 2 -It costs too much...at least that's what my neighbor told me! and last but not least....
Historically, 360 and 3D spin photography has cost 5X or more versus static photography. That is because the process was labor intensive or, an agency needed to recoup their costs for expensive, custom photography contraptions that they built themselves. Our robots and software are reasonably priced, and your ROI should be measured in months not years. We say, 360 and 3D spin photography at static photography prices.
Number 1 - I have no freakin' idea where to even start....but, thanks for catching my head!
Loaded and obvious question...simple answer....Snap36 was founded on the premise of providing a simple, one-stop shop for your 360 and 3D Spin photgraphy needs. Our hardware and software solutions are built by people who also use them in their own, working studios. They are constantly being upgraded to provide more efficiency. This provides our customers with an even more simple, scalable and affordable solution.
So, there you have it.... "Top 10 Reasons For Not Utilizing 360 Product Spin On A Website"....BUSTED!!
Over a decade ago when the dot.com bubble burst, one of the main concerns was still the bandwidth at which your average Internet shopper was accessing the web. The fact that over 50% of the people were still on dial-up, seems somewhat barbaric by today's standards. Out of necessity, there was a mad rush to provide a clever way to serve up high-resolution images over the web, without incurring the performance overhead. Several companies sprang up including Xippix, Equilibriium, Liquid Pixels and TrueSpectra to name a few. These products all provided a way for companies to get more productivity out of managing their images as well as an efficient way to serve up large images over the web….while also providing dynamic zoom, pan, resizing and spin. It was brilliant to break images down to a series of tiles and then only serve up what was needed in real-time….stream 2k to the site instead of 10MB. In 2002, Gistics Research created a study which estimated that a billion dollar problem was being solved by these products. We have come a long way in the past decade….
These image server products, through a series of successes, mergers and acquisitions created the basis for the success of Adobe’s Scene7 and Liquid Pixels, and to a lesser extent Equilibrium today. By all intents and purposes, these products created a small but very useful solution to bridge the bandwidth deficiencies of the last decade and create an excellent base to provide rich media solutions to Internet retailers. They provided an elegant solution for years and thus, commanded enterprise software prices. But recently, there is a growing group of naysayers who feel that the image server has run it’s product life cycle to the end, and that with the advances in bandwidth and CDN’s (cache data networks) the need for image servers no longer exists, or at least has been commoditized.
To the tech detractors, I would agree to a certain extent that the usefulness of the image server to the desktop is not what it once was….but lest we forget that we are in a rapidly evolving environment and the popularity of smartphones and tablets is changing the game. Yesterday’s dial up modem is today’s 3G network. Our quest for mobile accessibility has driven us to a new, deficient delivery platform for high-resolution images, and the image server is relevant again. Throw a new breed of start-ups into the mix, add popular tools like 360 spin photography and HTML5 viewers, and once again you have an elegant solution for online retailers who want to deploy rich media, with high resolution images onto multiple devices.
With high-end legacy solutions for the enterprise delivered by Adobe-Scene7 and interesting, new solutions delivered by my favorite, image-exchange startup shotfarm.com, there are plenty of options available for retailers and manufacturers today to take advantage of an old trick solving a new problem…..