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January 14, 2010

What Shoppers Want: Survey Reveals Vitals on the Viewing Experience

New Report

As online retailers face more and more competition and challenges converting visitors on their sites, it is becoming increasingly important for e-tailers to optimize their online visual merchandising to engage customers and entice them to buy. So to truly understand what shoppers want, we conducted a quantitative, consumer-facing study to identify and analyze eCommerce shopping features that are most useful for shoppers making an online purchase.

Three hundred people, both male and female, across three different age groups (18-29, 30-49, 50-64) were surveyed. These individuals were categorized as "medium to heavy online shoppers", residing in North America, that had both researched and purchased a product online in the last 12 months and spent at least $500 shopping online throughout the year. To best simulate a true online shopping experience and identify the shopping features that consumers find most critical for making a purchase decision, specific interactive shopping scenarios for men and women (identically formatted but with gender-specific imagery to which participants could best relate) were created, and participants were asked 15 key questions regarding shopping viewing preferences.

The results offer businesses valuable insights for designing the ideal viewer or visual merchandising experiences to improve conversions. Interestingly, many recommendations we have been making to our customers over the past several years were validated by the findings of this consumer research. Across the board in each age bracket and across both genders, shoppers want an easy, quick way to browse--validating the "web design 101 rule" of eliminating as many clicks and scrolling as possible. In addition, all shoppers want to be provided as much visual information in as large a viewing format as possible--including interactive zoom that allows shoppers to dynamically pan and zoom to deeper levels of details--leading to another well known rule, "bigger is better." As the study found, the two concepts go hand in hand; even in a full-screen view, shoppers still expected browsing to be quick and easy but also offer multiple levels of detail. And finally, the results pointed to the importance of offering as many images as possible (all colors and all views) with rich details--ideally featuring all sides of a product, creating a full 360-degree spin. Combining robust imagery with customer reviews/comments has shown to be the ultimate, preferred experience.

This research is both validating and insightful. Download the complete report, "Adobe Scene7 Viewer Study: What Shoppers Want" and learn how you can turn browsers into buyers. Download survey results here and let us know what you think.

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September 30, 2009

Combine your dynamic content to drive a richer customer experience (and sell product)

If you want to move merchandise, just showing customers a picture of a product isn't enough. Gone are the days where heavy copy and small imagery moves the needle. Now, displaying a combination of dynamically served product images including alternative views or full 360-degree spin (leveraging interactive zoom and pan) and product video tells the whole story. After all, dynamic zoom and pan enables users to interactively examine a product in detail, 360-degree spin creates an in-store experience, emulating the process of picking up and examining the merchandise, and video completes the story, replacing the in-store clerk, and demonstrating in perfect clarity the product features and benefits--on demand (no waiting for the clerk to finish up with another patron first!). And the ability of video to educate, inform, and show off products in all their glory has proven again and again to complement the product images and details.

The perfect execution leverages an "integrated viewer or player" that serves any type of rich dynamic content (high resolution sets of images including colors, lifestyle and alternative angles for zooming and panning, sets of videos or both). A user must be able to clearly understand which type of content he/she is viewing, as well as have the ability to easily toggle back and forth between each dynamic content type. That is why in the latest Adobe Scene7 release, mixed media viewers have been added as they enable even "non-technical" users to upload, build, publish and serve integrated combinations of videos, images (color and multiple views), SWFs, spin sets and audio.

Titanium Jewelry is a great example of a site that leverages product imagery alongside product video for the ultimate online shopping experience. Customers can see jewelry in as much detail as they might within a retail environment, and the video brings the piece to life - showing every angle of an item of interest.



Field & Stream is another strong example of a site that integrates product photography stills with product video in a tray viewing format for easy access to expanded product detail. Shoppers can toggle between product shots (hero and lifestyle) and video for an end-to-end overview of the desired merchandise. Field & Stream worked with Circumerro Media, its interactive agency to enable the dynamic media display using Scene7.



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April 23, 2009

Up, down, turn around, with 360-degree spin

When customers explore your product at retail, they touch it, turn it, and examine it closely from every angle. Why not provide the same experience to online shoppers? With 360-degree spin, you can do that and more. Multiple, detailed images can be integrated into a viewer to provide a seamless spinning view of your product. Shoppers can zoom to view high-resolution images for ultimate detail. And, best of all, you can use “hot spots” to point out special features or guide shoppers to product details related to specific angles – as if a sales representative were right there with them viewing the product!

DSW.com is a great example of a site using 360-degree spin effectively. They display nearly every shoe using this dynamic technology, offering automatic as well as manual spin so that shoppers can experience the full range of interactivity. In addition to viewing shoes on the product page in an embedded view, shoppers can launch a full screen and a larger view to see the product in even greater detail – including the top, sole, and all sides of the shoe.

Another great example is UnderArmour.com because spin is integrated with the rest of the dynamic viewing – including alternative views, colors, and hot spots for technical specifications – in an embedded full page product view.

Click here if you are interested in learning more about Adobe Scene7 and applying 360-degree spin on your site.

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  • ShopTalk is a blog featuring "Quick Tips", trends and more written by experts from the Adobe Scene7 team who live and breathe web, rich media and customer experience. This interactive forum offers insights and best practices on the latest trends we are seeing in the marketplace to help improve your customer experience, ultimately driving conversions and revenues.
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