Wednesday, August 27th, 2008
Many of the multi-channel merchants we work with have invested in beautiful photography that shows a range of products in highly branded settings. Many of these photos are shot primarily for print catalogs and, up to now, retailers haven’t been able to put these assets to affective use on the web.
In some cases, catalogers have uploaded versions of their print catalog to the web. While there are legitimate reasons to do this, Fluid’s customers have generally found results from these efforts disappointing. Conversion rates are low, as you would expect from directly translating a print layout to the web. Even with the fancy page flipping affect many of them add .
In other instances retailers have simply taken the existing photo assets and overlaid merchandising text in Photoshop. While this serves the purpose, this text frequently looks cluttered and may significantly lessen the brand impact of the photo. These photos were taken to create an emotional connection between the shopper and a brand or product. Reading text overlays certainly lessens the visual impact and can also distract from the emotional connection of envisioning yourself in the scene.
Other retailers have used these assets as the basis for a richer shopping experience, creating tooltips that appear on mouse over. This is a great use of interactive technology but up to now has been resource intensive to produce. The manual production required to update a banner has required a designer to create the visual and an engineer to wire up the custom Flash or AJAX technology. By the time the banner is integrated into the site it could be a week or more later.
The Fluid Retail team has recently released an enhancement to Fluid Experience that allows retailers to more efficiently use rich brand photography on their site. Using our authoring tools virtually any member of the production team can pull in existing photography, mask out and associate products and publish the assets to the site without need of any technical skills. The whole process can be completed in a matter of minutes.
I’ve embedded an example of the type of interactivity that is possible with Fluid Experience below. Note that shoppers are able to learn about all the products shown, without leaving the photography that has engaged them. Combined with a quick shop window and mini-cart, this type of interactivity encourages the purchase of multiple products.
It is also worth noting that this merchandising component is embedded using Fluid Social’s content syndication capabilities, that allow anyone to take your site content to iGoogle, blogs, MySpace or Facebook.
As I said earlier, the real magic behind the Fluid technology is the authoring tool that eliminates the need to have Flash developers or IT involved in publishing new assets to the site. If you are looking for better ways to engage shoppers with rich product photography you should contact us to learn more.