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April 19, 2011

From coffee table to mobile tablet – browsing your favorite catalogs just got easier

When Montgomery Ward sent out its first catalog in 1872, I am sure no one at the time imagined that one day people would be flipping pages of multiple catalogs from one single portable device. But here we are nearly a century-and-a-half later and that is exactly what the latest release of Adobe Scene7 is making possible.

Scene7 eCatalogs are now optimized for rich viewing experiences across multiple screens, allowing companies to quickly and easily transform print catalogs into dynamic and interactive experiences that reach shoppers on-the-go. Companies already publishing online catalogs with Scene7 can leverage existing eCatalog assets and seamlessly deliver them to iPads and iPhones. With support for multi-touch and gesture interactions, such as pinch to zoom in/out, double tap to zoom in/out, swipe to turn pages, mobile-optimized eCatalog viewers also respond to device rotation to swap between single page, portrait orientation and double page, landscape orientation spreads. These features enable businesses to scale existing rich, immersive experiences to more screens.

Some other highlights of this latest release include:

Tighter Adobe Test&Target integration to optimize relevance and conversion

Improved content synchronization capabilities between Adobe Scene7 and Adobe Test&Target™ enable customers of both solutions to quickly and easily transfer Scene7 images, templates, videos, recuts and Dynamic Banner assets to Test&Target to perform tests and reveal the most compelling and relevant content and executions for conversion lift.

Deeper Creative Suite 5 integration to further streamline desktop-to-Web workflows

A new Scene7 Creative Suite Extension for Flash Professional allows upload, preview and customization of Flash projects to Scene7 directly within Flash Professional, enabling a seamless, efficient workflow for creating Scene7 Dynamic Banners. The new "publish" capability in Scene7 Creative Suite Extension further enables users to publish assets, already uploaded to Scene7, to live image servers directly from within the Creative Suite 5 application.

With this tighter integration, companies can continually optimize their digital experiences in real-time without going back to the desktop to build new variations of creative, enabling customers to extend testing by eliminating high production time and costs.

Open Viewer Platform for Flash SDK to create innovative customer experiences with custom viewers

Companies can achieve flexibility and creativity to extensively customize Scene7 Flash viewers and uniquely brand viewer look-and-feel and interactivity with a new Flash component-based framework. Additionally, reusable performance-optimized components lower the overall cost of viewer development and accelerate custom development.

Video search engine optimization and libraries to maximize discoverability

To improve video discoverability, Scene7 now automatically generates and updates a sitemap/mRSS of the videos for submission to search engines, ensuring that companies are able to maximize the ROI on their video investments. Additionally, companies can create video libraries that consolidate videos in one central location within their site or as a separate microsite, establishing a destination where consumers can go to find valuable video searchable by title, description, keywords, category and related videos.


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September 01, 2010

Countdown to the Holidays: 7 Tips to Spread Your Rich Media Cheer

This holiday season, be generous and spread your rich media everywhere...

As your customers shop in more channels across more devices, you need to be where they are—especially over the upcoming holiday shopping season. As you devise your game-plan for the holidays, here are some rich media tips to rev up your holiday planning.

1. Optimize your mobile site. The game-changer this holiday season is mobile. Shoppers will be using their cell phones to research, comparison-shop and browse as they navigate between the online and offline experiences. Thus, you need to engage your customers in mobile, so be sure your imagery is optimized for the small screen.

Rich, full-screen image zoom and videos are the most effective ways to browse or display products in mobile, according to a majority of the respondents in our mobile survey published in July.

2. Socialize your rich media. Social media is the other channel set to make waves this holiday season. Last year, comScore found 27% of US shoppers said social media has influenced their purchases, and this year that number should rise. Add depth and richness to your social media initiatives. We’ve seen merchants like Soft Surroundings post their online catalogue on Facebook to great effect; make your dynamic viewer sets embeddable in blogs to make your product pages go viral. Check out how Niche Modern did it.

3. Cover all the rich media bases on your PC commerce site. From full-screen imagery to zoom capabilities, dynamic rich media can deliver an all-around great online shopping experience. Offer great visualization tools from start to finish, beginning from the home page, to search-and-filtering and through checkout to support. Don’t forget to post your online catalog to help those in search of ideas. These shoppers love the product bundles or entire wardrobe ensembles to spark gift ideas. Beyond that, your site’s dynamic viewing capabilities should enhance and deepen the shoppers’ understanding of the product.

On category pages, layer on more interactive visual information, such as click-views, rollover alternative views and colorization. The key is to give shoppers as much product information as possible to give them the confidence to purchase. If they can examine the details of the bracelet, they will appreciate and understand the product craftsmanship and intricacies that much more. The more visual and textual information you can provide, the more you can also help set expectations, resulting in greater satisfaction and lower return rates. Check out our customer experience survey to learn which rich media and merchandising tactics has delivered for online retailers.

4. Enrich your online ad campaigns. Today, the challenge for marketers is to break through the noise and clutter with engaging and relevant offers and experiences so they can convert their audience into buyers. One way to do this is to increase the relevance of your online ads and promotions with a customized, dynamic experience. From animated banners to video ads, connect with your audience using rich media, and don’t forget to tie your offers to CRM to deliver the relevant content to the right audience at the right time. Personalizing ads with relevant information related to geography or weather can also score big points

5. Use videos to convert. Shoppers love online videos, and their popularity continues to grow. That’s good news for retailers because video’s persuasive powers are indisputable—conversion improvements can be as high as 140% after shoppers view a product video, according to data from our customers. Moreover, video can help to close the gap between the touch-and-feel store experience and the web. So, let online videos tell your product stories: Use them for product reviews, demonstrations and merchandising. Get our eVideo paper to learn more best practices.

6. Invite user generated content. The voice of real customers lends credibility and authenticity to your brand like nothing else. With 64% of social media users somewhat or completely trusting blog posts by people they know, compared to 36% for posts by a brand, the path to building trust in your brand should involve actual customers. So, invite your customers to share their experiences with videos or pictures.

7. Let shoppers have fun creating a one-of-a-kind gift. One of the hottest trends in retail continues to be the growing trend of co-creation or mass customization—letting customers design and customize their consumables using online product configurators. These intuitive visualization tools guide users through each design decision, allowing shoppers to see what they’re getting before the product is made. They create a memorable experience for the buyer and one-of-a-kind gifts for the receiver. To learn more about product configurators, download our paper.


[1] Invoke Solutions study, as cited by eMarketer, July 29, 2010

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August 18, 2010

Two-Timing? Three-Timing? Serve 'em all with Single-Source Imagery

Did you know Scene7's dynamic sizing capabilities allow you to serve rich experiences across key digital channels, from web to email to mobile—all using a single set of imagery?

This means even the smallest brands can put themselves on equal footing with their larger competitors and reduce their time to market, whether kicking off an email campaign, or launching a downloadable mobile app. The beauty of dynamic sizing is that with one high-resolution image source, you can create all the derivatives for every need across your digital portfolio. By making a simple change to the image source URL call, you can instantly optimize the image for the digital media you’re working with.

K2 Sports, the ski manufacturer, for instance, uses Scene7 to serve high-impact imagery on its website. To ramp up its mobile presence quickly, it dynamically re-sized its master source images for optimal display and faster loading on the small screen.

Using dynamic rendering capabilities, you effectively eliminate the incremental image production costs associated with launching new digital properties or campaigns. The other benefit of rendering single source image is brand consistency; by using only one master image, there are fewer quality control issues to contend with.

To learn what your peers are planning and doing in mobile, we invite you to download our newest survey: Adobe Scene7 2010 Mobile Commerce Survey: Are You Dialed In?

And don’t forget to tell us how you’re using Scene7's dynamic sizing to get your digital initiatives off the ground quickly!

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August 05, 2010

How Far "Embed" Will you Go with your Media?


Niche Modern wants to go far with all kinds of media--rich, social, earned. No wonder-- whenever the lighting designer and manufacturer gets published mentions by fans, bloggers, or trade journalists, its site traffic inevitably spikes. That's big for a small start-up like Niche Modern, which has limited marketing budget.

With an eye to courting bloggers and journalists, Niche Modern makes it easy and compelling for publishers to showcase its visually stunning lighting products.

Niche Modern provides third-party publishers with code that allows them to embed a dynamic viewing experience of its content directly on their sites. For example, Better Living Through Design embedded this Niche Modern mixed media viewer on its blog to great result.

Thus, blog visitors not only see Niche Modern's entire product image set, as intended, but they can zoom and pan on each lighting product, plus, see alternative, in-context images of the lighting wonders applied to a variety of setting, from open kitchens to intimate dining rooms. There's also a slider mechanism that users can click to see the full range of the product thumbnails.

What's great about the embed feature is it reduces the risk of bloggers mucking up the brand, as the entire Niche Modern branded experience is seamlessly lifted to a third-party site. This means Niche Modern can extend to any site the up-market positioning it has worked hard to build, ensuring their products are showcased in their best light with all the viewing tools that spur prolonged gazing, admiration and engagement.

The benefits add up quickly: The more sites that are linking to Niche Modern, the higher its search rankings will become.

The other big win of course is that businesses with few marketing dollars no longer have to pay loads of money to build awareness. Imagine how much Niche Modern would have had to spend to get the same number of people to pay attention through advertising, versus reaching them through blogs and other social media outlets.

Read more about Niche Modern.

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July 28, 2010

Can Every e-Business Use the Visual Configurator? We think so.


You don't have to be a seller of custom goods to use the visual configurator. Yes, these online visual configuration tools are popular with businesses that offer user-designed custom goods, because they allow customers to see photorealistic images of a product as it's being configured in real-time.

But visual configurators also have compelling back-office applications that any business would find useful. For example, employees can use the configurator to personalize and order their business cards. Salespeople can use the configurator to tailor their presentations, eCatalogues, product data sheets and other selling tools. They can layer the prospect's logos on a product, enter their direct contact information, and select the appropriate content options that make their pitch more relevant and compelling. The configurator could also guide the user's content selection by stating the ideal business conditions for each option.

Retailers can use the configurator to localize their signages and in-store displays using pre-approved online marketing templates. Chain operators can protect brand integrity by providing their local stores with corporate-approved templates and assets, using the visual configurator as the online interface to specify content and promotions suitable for their local retail audience.

The scope of visual configurator's commercial application is also broad. From monogrammed wine glasses to custom-built bicycles, the visual configurator can serve up accurate renderings of how the user-designed or personalized product will appear at delivery, alleviating buyer anxieties and reducing the risk of buyer's remorse. As an engagement tool, visual configurators are also compelling; increasing numbers of manufacturers are using them to enrich their online experience and to drive foot traffic to their dealers and retail outlets. By enabling a fun and immersive design experience, visual configurators are sure to guarantee deep interaction with the product and the brand.

To learn more about the multi-faceted visual configurator, download Adobe Scene7's new white paper, Visual Configurator: The Killer App for Mass Customization.

Lastly, tell us how you're using the online visual configurator in your business.

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April 14, 2010

Mix & Match to Make More

Empower your shoppers to create their own personal style! Enable users to customize their "own look" by allowing them to mix & match items to make their own outfits. Not only do your customers become "design experts" with respect to more of your products, mix & match tools can increase average order size as users become more involved with creating their different combinations.

Also, community merchandising has tremendous potential to engage brand loyal shoppers by not only allowing them to design, but also share their own custom outfits as well as rate outfits designed by others. The side benefit - helping you reduce the need for retailer-driven merchandising. According to the Adobe Scene7 2010 Customer Experience in the New Decade Survey, the use mix & match features had one of the highest increases in deployment from 2009 to 2010. (Download 2010 Survey to read more).

A Scene7 customer mixing it up this season is JCPenney with its 2010 swimwear collection. Jcp.com brings the mix & match concept to life with an interactive browsing experience that allows shoppers to scroll through this season's portfolio of swimwear separates and piece together different tops and bottoms from the various collections by either scrolling or dragging tops and bottoms to create different ensembles. The center combination appears prominently where shoppers can click to enlarge the view and see both the back and front of the swimsuit, delivering a rich and engaging experience vital for making the plunge to purchase!


March 15, 2010

No Bumps in Burton's Customer Experience

There is no doubt that improving customer experience is a priority or at least a planned initiative for most eCommerce professionals as their online shoppers continue to demand end-to-end engaging experiences that make it easier, more informative, and more visually appealing when browsing online.

Leading retailers are employing rich Internet applications because they have been known to improve the user experience. According to Forrester Research Inc.'s February 2010 report, "The Future of Online Customer Experience," 69% of US online consumers prefer rich interactions. When it comes to converting browsers to buyers, it is important to deliver rich, relevant interactive experiences that leverage high-quality content. The ideal experience includes full-screen product images and videos presented using rich interfaces, that both empower and guide shoppers to visually compare, customize, and share their preferences and experiences with their community.

One Scene7 customer that has embraced the concept of delivering a rich customer experience is Burton Snowboards (www.Burton.com). Burton's website takes full-screen viewing to the next level, enabling eager shoppers to click on a product of interest and populate the entire screen with images of that product. Clicking to zoom reveals deeper levels of detail, and mousing over the images to dynamically pan moves the product up, down, and side to side, as well as displays the gallery of alternate views and delivers an incredibly realistic view that might otherwise only come from an in-store shopping experience!

Learn more about how to improve your customers' experience on your site. Download our customer experience whitepaper.



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February 10, 2010

From Shoes to Shirts, Bigger is Always Better

Last week we revealed the importance of minimizing the number of clicks shoppers have to endure to get to their desired product. This week, we'd like to stress the importance of delivering a full-screen viewing experience to your customers to get them one step closer to a purchase decision. From television sets to movie screens, the trend today clearly illustrates that people want more visual stimulation. This trend is just as prevalent online. Consumers are looking for that same "larger than life" experience in their online shopping and when they don't get it, they look for it somewhere else.

In our recently conducted viewer study, entitled "What Shoppers Want", we discovered that across the board, in each age bracket and across both genders, shoppers want to be provided as much visual information in as large a viewing format as possible. People appreciate the ability to interactively zoom to deeper detail levels in order to truly examine products, and full-screen viewing with interactive zoom and pan is the preferred format because it enables even better examination of products.

One Scene7 customer that has embraced this concept "to the extreme" is Nike. Nike's website takes full-screen viewing to the nth degree, enabling eager shoppers to click on a product of interest and populate the entire screen with images of that product. Clicking to zoom reveals deeper levels of detail, and the small guide in the upper right corner of the screen enables full-screen dynamic pan and zoom, revealing the product details and delivering an incredibly realistic view that might otherwise only come from an in-store shopping experience!

Learn more about the merchandising tricks that will turn your browsers into buyers. Download the report.



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February 03, 2010

No-Click Tricks to Better Merchandising

In our recently conducted viewer study, entitled "What Shoppers Want", we were able to identify best practices for online visual merchandising that validate current eCommerce trends.

In a nutshell? Shoppers want an easy, quick way to browse--with as few clicks and as little scrolling as possible when searching for the right product. But when making a purchase (to really add to cart), all shoppers want to be provided as much visual information in as large a viewing format as possible--including interactive zoom that enables shoppers to dynamically pan and zoom to deeper levels of details. Offering fly-over, click-driven browsing combined with full-screen interactive zoom is the ideal best practice.

One Scene7 customer who does a particularly good job at following these best practices is Halfords, a leading retailer of car parts, car enhancements and bicycles operating out of the United Kingdom.

Halfords delivers detailed product descriptions complete with alternate images (front, back and sides of product). Users can click on any of the images and then by just moving their mouse curser over the main image, another image automatically "flies out" with a single level of zoom to reveal a closer look at the product -- without clicking. To take an even deeper look, users can click on the "View Larger" button to view a separate product window that delivers even greater zoom levels of detail, where users can interactively examine more and more details on any area of the image.

For more about this study, download the report.



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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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  • 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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