Jan 252013
 

Whether we realize it or not, shopping is a tactile experience.  Before making a purchase, shoppers typically touch, test, open, or try on products.  But that type of interaction isn’t possible yet for online shopping.  As a result, in-store purchases continue to be the preferred method of consumption.

To overcome the absence of physical interaction, a growing number of retailers & brands are incorporating Rich Media interactive imagery as a solution.  A unique and highly effective approach is 360º spin photography.   This method requires a rotating turntable and digital camera.  Once the product is placed on the table, multiple still images are captured as the table rotates.  The individual shots are then combined to produce a QuickTime or Flash movie.

How Many Frames Are Needed For A 360º Spin?
A minimum of twelve frames per image is recommended, which translates to a shot every 30º.  A higher frame count will produce a smoother spin; 32-frames is typically considered a high count and comparable to “video-like” movement.  Products with minimal detail & variation, like a solid-colored ceramic coffee mug, do not (necessarily) require a high frame count for an ideal spin.  On the other hand, a multicolored, expandable suitcase with numerous zippered compartments and retractable handle would benefit greatly from a higher frame count.  More frames not only create smooth movement, but in this case, they give customers the ability to view the retractable handle at multiple heights, and see the zippered compartments open as the case rotates 360º.

Interactive Shopping
There are many forms of shopper interaction, but (in my opinion) the key component to the decision-making process is tactility.  A major benefit to spin photography is that shoppers can interact with products. Shoppers can zoom in with incredible detail and view items from all angles via click & drag, rotating from left to right and top to bottom.  Shoppers can also click on hotspots that link to video or other valuable content, delivering a multilayered, media-rich user experience.

Who’s Using Interactive Photography?
Many leading online fashion retailers are setting themselves apart from the competition by incorporating interactive photography on their e-Commerce sites.  Clothing, shoes, and accessories are great products to spin, especially to showcase different colors or to feature a new product line.  Home appliances, eyewear, sporting goods, manufactured parts, furniture, and cell phones are other examples of ideal products to spin.

Agencies & designers are also incorporating interactive elements in physical retail spaces, and they’re not just for display purposes.  These elements can be a resource center, providing valuable product knowledge and availability.  They can also help drive sales and increase incremental spending.  The links below are examples of unique ways that different brands are incorporating in-store interactive photography and imagery:

Nike’s Interactive Digital Running Wall
Pull & Bear’s Collective Catalog                 
Kohl’s Kiosks’

Perch Footwear’s Interactive Display Table
                                                                                                                                              

Benefits                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Interactive product photography is a proven capture tool that truly enhances the shopper’s experience– both in-store and online.  Studies show that using interactive photography can significantly reduce the return rate of online purchases.  This is largely attributed to the additional information gained from viewing multiple angles of a product in great detail.  Shoppers make better-informed decisions when they’re armed with knowledge about the product and its key features.

Conclusion                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           As technology advances, consumers will inherently adopt new shopping habits that make in-store purchases seem old-fashioned.  The idea of picking up an item off the shelf to handle and observe in order to make an informed purchase decision will no longer be necessary or familiar.  Customers are already transitioning to online shopping, and interactive solutions like 360° spin photography are making this transition easier and more successful as retailing speeds into a more technology-based future.

 Posted by at 2:06 pm