Dan Stewart, VP of Marketing and E-Commerce at Allied Electronics & Automation, explains the benefits of 360° imagery.
“The way we go to market is as a digital company so whether our customers are buying from us online or offline, they’re engaging with our website, they’re engaging with us digitally before they place their orders. And we want to have a really robust experience for them when they are engaging with us digitally. What we keep saying is our business is that whenever someone looks at something on our website is exactly what they see when they open the box that arrives. And that is really what Snap36 and the 360° spins helps us do – is it helps us give them that experience as though they’re almost opening up the box and pulling out that product before they ever buy it.
Overall, the nice thing has been that Snap36 is so easy to work with. When we first engaged with Snap, we had a pretty aggressive timeline in terms of what we wanted to accomplish because we were on some tight constraints in terms of budget and timeline, and the team came in and did some incredible work in a very short period of time which got us to our goal and got a large number of products up with 360° spins on our website in a pretty short time.
You get a lot of pictures from manufacturers that have strange backgrounds on them, low resolution, fuzzy, or representative products – so you would take one product that was representative of a whole series of products that might not be exactly what the customer is going to get. So one of the things that we wanted to fix and overcome with the Snap36 imagery is creating this really robust experience online that we couldn’t always depend on our manufacturers to do for us upon their sort of “legacy” way of taking pictures.
Ultimately, what we want to do is shoot every new product that comes into our warehouse with 360° spin imagery. Down the road, what we also want to look at is being able to use that 360° imagery in new and unique ways. So for example, being able to utilize visual search for our new customers so they can upload those to our site and we can match them.
And we are also even talking about using this 360° imagery for automating some of our warehouse processes using some robotics technology as well. You have robots that automatically pick the products out of trays and bins. Then you can train the robotics based on the imagery of the product, so if it tries to pick the wrong product, it will alert that there is a problem or error and keep it from picking the wrong product. So if you have a tray that has 12 different products, and it will identify each product based on the pattern for it and make sure that it picks the right product as long as it has the right image attached to it.
We set up a 360° spin booth at our expo and allowed a lot of our manufacturers see how it works, let them spin their products on the table and they were really excited about the technology and the experience that it can create for our collective customers.
The biggest benefit for our customers is that we are a very digital business and we want to make sure they have the best experience online. What we ultimately want is when our customers are viewing products online, we want that to be the exact same thing that shows up in the box. So by having 360° spin, customers can look at that product in a lot of detail – just as they are opening that box and picking that product up and looking at it.”