The Catalog World at Your Finger Tips…

July 8th, 2011
In 1897, the Sears Roebuck ran a catalog of over 700 pages that contained virtually every item needed to run a household or a business. Sears Roebuck assured customers in rural areas that catalog shopping was a safe and effective means of receiving all of the products they needed the most without having to travel long distances to the nearest store. Thus, the world of catalog shopping was born. Clothes, tools and household supplies could be delivered to rural areas without the hassle and gave rural dwellers excitement in waiting for their mail.
Today, we have the convenience of shopping at thousands upon thousands of stores – including malls, strip malls, outlets, big box stores, convenience stores and local brick and mortar establishments. Catalog shopping and online shopping provide alternative means to running to the store. These methods of shopping are ideal for those with hectic schedules or the homebound. They also provide individuals access to stores that may not be in their area.
As technology continuously evolves, so does the catalog. The iPad, iPhone and other tablet and smartphone devices have paved the way for a new and improved catalog. Whether you are a small business or large business you can benefit from mobile catalog browsing.
With MediaSpin360, you can showcase your products in a mobile catalog in an entirely knew light. With the popularity of touch-screen devices, your customers can pan, zoom, spin and rotate each and every image in your catalog with the tip of a finger. MediaSpin360 adds realism and interactivity to your catalog. With the use of iPads, iPhones and other products, MediaSpin360 can provide the illusion of holding a product in your hands without ever having to leave your house. Market your products in an entirely new light with mobile catalogs and take your products to an entirely new level with MediaSpin360.

What [Online] Shoppers Want…

August 6th, 2010
As an online retailer, it is important to know your customer and cater to their needs as well as wants. With online shopping facing heavy competition and challenges, online retailers need to face and give the consumer exactly what they are asking for.
According to a 2010 survey from IBM, online shoppers want their shopping experience to be more interactive and highly personalized. Smart consumers are able to utilize their technology to make more informed buying decisions, exchange information and reviews with other online shoppers, and make purchases whenever and wherever life takes them.
In the age of digital technology, all e-tailers need to hop on board. In order to succeed in this highly competitive market, websites are going to need to engage in high powered technology that enables the consumer to view a product in high definition, zooming in and out, and at every angle and view possible. The technology of MediaSpin360 offers this specialized digital technology that will put e-tailers on the cutting edge of technology and leave consumers clicking the “add to bag” icon more often. Bigger is better when allowing a customer to view a product; these technologies can bring products to life right in the privacy of the consumer’s bedroom, kitchen, living room, etc. Shoppers want as much visual information as possible.
In addition, the online shopper like a good bargain. They want to be able to access coupons and online promotional codes. It is no secret that mobile phone use is a huge means of communication, shoppers want to utilize mobile phone use for promotional codes and even shopping.
Cross channeling is also important to the online shoppers. If one buys something online can they return it at the store or even pick the purchase up at the store. For those who still like to buy in the store, the internet is still an important buying tool. Individuals often check product availability, store locations, and buyer reviews before heading out to make their purchases.
In order to maintain customer loyalty and build new customer bases, the online retailer is going to need to stay on top of technology and listen to their customer.

More than a spinning photography…

April 3rd, 2010
Online Rich Media applications have been around for years and online retailers are striving to use the latest and greatest technology to attract more customers. We have seen everything from page-flipping catalogs to product configurators but 360-degree product presentation has been the most discussed topic in conferences and forums. 360-degree product presentation is more than just taking photos of a single product from different sides and making it spin on a web page. It is the preparation, photography, and implementation that make one unique product showcase. It is the marriage of traditional photography, specialized hardware, and software automation that makes this stunning online product presentation possible.
We have talked about how 360-degree photos are made but for this post we want to focus on the software side. The software application that is being used to showcase the product rotation is typically Flash which is a standard plugin that is automatically installed on all major desktop web browsers. We can also use other software such as AJAX, JavaScript or QuickTime to showcase product spin. We custom design each 360-degree product viewer to suit the customer’s need because we understand that company branding is very important. We want to ensure that every customer has their own unique viewer and not a standard gray box offered by our larger competitors. The features that come with the viewers – zoom, pan, print, tell-a-friend, and hotspots – are essential tools for the online shopper to really experience and inspect the product without leaving the comfort of their home. Zoom is extremely important in order to view the product details. Other companies’ product zooms consist of one single view but in our 360-degree viewer customer can zoom up to 72 views of a single product. Online shoppers can also pan and rotate the product around while it is all the way zoomed in. A small navigation window in the 360-degree product viewer helps customers navigate the product while in zoom without getting lost. Another great feature in the viewer are hotspots that highlight specific product features by popping up small windows that contains descriptive verbiage or images. This functionality directs the customer’s attention to what makes the product really stand out from others. Additional features such as tell-a-friend can increase product sales by allowing customer to contribute in social networking and product reviews. A 360-degree product viewer can be easily implemented into any web site, shopping cart, or mobile device.
The power of our 360-degree product viewer has improved dramatically since it first released. We are working hard with our customers to develop the next big thing, that’s more than just taking photos of the product. Stay tuned for 360-degree viewer on iPhones and other mobile devices.
Demo: Highmark InSync Chair: Click Here

6 ways for online retailer to showcase products

February 18th, 2010
Retailers are looking for innovative ways to showcase their products online. One of the new techniques is to create an in-store experience for the customers.
Many online shopping retailers like to reflect their brick-and-mortar look and feel in their online presence. Look at SaksFifthAvenue.com and Nordstrom.com. Both use the colors and the elegant design to connect their online and in-store experiences. The only thing that these giants are missing is a “closer-look” of the products before the customers are ready to flip out their credit cards and start purchasing. We are going to show you how effectively an online retailer can increase their sales by implementing the following 6 ways to showcase their products.
One: Add zoom to high-resolution images
A 200 x 200 pixels image cannot show any details. Adding a high-resolution image that can be zoomed in and out allows the customers to see the product detail more clearly. The image needs to have great lighting so the customers can see the texture and the material being used. See the comparison below:
Static Image

Figure 1.1 (Static Image) Figure 1.2 (Dynamic Zoom/Pan)
Two: Add Image Gallery
One image is not enough for the customer to establish an emotional connection with the product. The advantage of creating an image gallery is to highlight specific features of the product allowing the customers to appreciate the quality they are paying for.
Dynamic Image Gallery
Figure 2.1
Three: Add Online Product Configurator
If a specific product offers different color choices, it is important to present them with an online product configurator. This custom application is offered by many companies such as our parent company Preface Media who is one the leaders in online Rich Media solutions. The eConfigurator allows the customer to view the product in all the different available colors, fabrics, finishes and settings right on their screen. Some retailers still show a single product image and a list of available colors. This is not enough. It is like stepping into DSW Shoes: you may like the white designer shoes but you also want to try the red ones before making the purchase decision.
Four: Add Virtual Design Center
This feature gives the customers an opportunity to try out different combinations of products and see what matches together. One example is the room designer below, which allows the customer to design their fireplace materials to match with the flooring and the rest of the furniture.
Preface8 eConfigurator
Figure 4.1
Five: Add 360 Degrees and 3D Product Photography
Imagine a customer stepping into a shoe and handbag store. The first thing they will do is look around the store and pick out the products that most interest them. The next thing they do is inspect these products front to back, side to side and top to bottom. How can an online retailer simulate the same experience online? Well… the technology for touch and smell isn’t there yet but visually a Flash-based Product Viewer with 3D product photography can fully recreate the in-store experience. The viewer gives the customer complete power to rotate the product in true 3D along with zoom in/out features.

Figure 5.1 (360 Spin)
Six: Add Video
Producing a product video is simple, effective and fast. eVideos such as powered by Preface8 are delivered instantly to the customer’s screen in high definition. These powerful video messages can be especially persuasive when done creatively. For fashion online retailer, clothes and accessories can be worn by a model while taping these short eVideos. For online electronics store, products can be turned on, operated, opened, closed and moved around to show their features. eVideos are great for product feature presentation as well as usage recommendations.
Preface8 eVideos
Figure 6.1