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  • Blog: MediaLab 3D Perspectives

    10 Things to Ask When Choosing a 3D Partner

    3DPartnerGoodFit_300At a recent trade show, we found ourselves busting myths about 3D digital asset creation. In all cases, perceptions about the process, turnaround time and quality had more to do with the 3D partner than with the realities of 3D image and animation creation. 

    Digital asset creation can actually be a time-, budget- and headache-saving endeavor if you choose the right partner and ask the right questions.

    When choosing a partner, be sure to ask:

    1. Is the project team comfortable working with numerous departments within an organization?
      Producing successful 3D product images and animations requires the ability to “speak the language” of personnel in various departments. Ask how company team members interact with their clients’ in-house engineers, product managers, marketing directors and graphic designers.
    2. Is the company familiar with/experienced in using source files?
      The ability to track down and use engineering files like Pro-E and Solidworks is critical to ensuring strict product-image accuracy and consistency. Typically, traditional marketing agencies aren’t even aware of the existence of these important files. Ask about the team’s “comfort level” with engineering files and other source files.
      [Read more…]

    Product Imaging: Why 3D Images Trump Digital Photography

    3D Product Imaging

    3D set shot made using 3D product imaging

    If you’ve ever done product imaging old school (aka, digital photography), you know it can mean long days or weeks sourcing product, finding the right materials, building the sets, finding the right location and ambience for displaying the product, and creating the mood. And that’s all before the photographer starts shooting. And when that finally happens you can only hope you nailed the colors, lighting, angles, and décor so you won’t have to do this all over again.

    What if, instead, you could display that product in any location, with any décor, in any lifestyle or setting without pouring out significant amounts of time, money, and other resources?

    Many companies are doing exactly that with photorealistic 3D imaging — a concept catching on with manufacturers of all sizes and types of products. This technology provides cost savings, flexibility, and a new way to leave the competition standing still. Sure, digital photography still has its place in product imaging, but that niche is getting smaller with every advance in 3D imaging technology.

    Ditch the Expense

    The fact is that computer generated 3D product images cost less than digital photographsboth in dollars and logistical headaches.

    [Read more…]

    360° Product Spinners “Cover All Angles” of What Online Shoppers Want

    What consumers want in online product images isn’t new but the methods and challenges of delivery are ever-evolving, leaving some online retailers playing catch-up.

    What Online Shoppers Want

    Since 2003, consumers have been asking for alternate product views, zooms and video and have now come to expect those as standard features. Over the last few years, the e-tailing group has also noted an uptick in demand for product image features like 3D, color change and the ability to view the product in a simulated room environment.

    The stats:

    etailing_group_findings

    Attempts to Deliver

    NikeProdImage

    Interactive product image of the “Nike Free 5.0+” women’s running shoe from Nike.com

    Top brands and retailers have responded to consumer demands in varying degrees. For example, Nike lets shoppers view shoes from 4 angles and zoom in to see design details. Walmart and Zappos provide multiple zoom-enabled images to toggle between product color variants. They also show some products in action through recorded demonstration video.

    [Read more…]

    Take the Test: Will You Sink or Swim in “The Year of the Tablet”?

    Take the Test: Will You Sink or Swim in the "Year of the Tablet"?You’ve heard the hype: 2013 is being hailed “the year of the tablet”. There’s no question that tablet adoption and use is on the rise. The questions are: what will it mean for your industry and most importantly, are you ready?

    We’ve compiled a few links and stats around what we see coming, and what it means for the Consumer Products & Retail and Homebuilding industries in particular. See what the tablet surge holds for your industry and then take one of the tests below to see if you’re poised to sink or swim.

    What’s Coming

    Tablet Prices Will Drop

    Apple’s latest 16GB iPad2 and Mini are $399 and $329 respectively – an over $100 drop since the iPad’s 2010 release. Rising competition from Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Sony, Acer and others is helping to drive tablet and e-reader prices down. You can already pick up Lenovo’s IdeaTab for $299 or Amazon’s Kindle Fire for $199. And, if you’re willing to sacrifice a few GBs or features, you can snag others for under $200. But an even bigger indicator than today’s price is tomorrow’s tech – already developing in and for “emerging markets.” Acer plans to launch a $99 tablet in China called the Iconica B1. India’s $40 Ubislate tablet could drop to $25 by year’s end. While these aren’t due to touch US soil at these prices just yet, they put the reality of low-cost tablet production in clear view. [Read more…]

    Why Product & Brand Marketers Must Step Up Their Game in 2013

    Product and Brand Marketers Step Up Their Game in 2013 Well, you’ve survived the Mayans’ prediction and are heading into a new year!

    Here are some marketing must-dos to help you engage your consumers, supercharge your sales force and establish your brand as a go-to resource in the new year.

    Secure the Sale

    In 2013, real-time response and relevancy win. If you’re serious about sales, arm your customers with essential product information. Pronto.

    [Read more…]

    QR Codes, After the Sale [Infographic]

    After the Sale: Using QR Codes to Deliver on Product PromisesThere’s a lot of hype around QR codes as one-click sales and marketing tools. And we’ve seen a ton of executions aimed at wooing consumers before the sale – links to promotional content, online reviews, slick branding videos and landing pages.

    But what about after you’ve gotten the customer to fall in love with your product and take it home?

    Here’s where consumers get left in the lurch – feeling frustrated, abandoned and on their own. Confusing printed instruction manuals leave them with questions. User error leads to lack of confidence in the product (and the brand). Improper assembly leads to product damage. And, all of that confusion and frustration leads to customer service calls, complaints and returns.

    Keeping the customer satisfied is as critical as securing the initial sale.

    QR codes that deliver instructional animation help boost customer satisfaction and reduce service incidents and returns. Animation makes “how-to” steps simple and surpasses video in its demonstrative ability. Easy access to guided instructions via QR code and a mobile device, puts help on-hand to squelch customer frustrations the very moment they arise. When done well, QR codes can head off consumer frustration altogether by following through on the promises made before the sale.

    [Read more…]

    Study Reveals What Customers Really Think About Online Product Images

    You have a wonderful online product catalog, and your website runs like a dream. Simple to search, easy to navigate—what’s not to love? But you still see room for improvement, both in sales and conversion rates. So what’s next?

    Based on the results of a National Retail Federation study, your product images could be holding you back, playing an even greater role than any of us ever realized. When presented with a list of 26 different site elements, survey participants listed image quality as one of the most important factors influencing their buying decisions, ranking it #4 overall —more important than product guides, short descriptions, long descriptions, and even product reviews.

    An impressive 94% said the quality of the image was “very to somewhat important” to selecting and ultimately buying products. When women’s responses were singled out, that number climbed even higher – with 96% indicating its importance.

    When visiting a merchant’s product page, how important is the following image related information to selecting and ultimately purchasing a product?
    VERY TO SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT TOTAL WOMEN MEN
    Quality of the image 94% 96% 92%
    Alternative views 88% 91% 83%
    Zoom 85% 86% 81%
    Item specific image (i.e. pillow vs. entire bedroom
    or shirt vs. complete outfit)
    77% 79% 74%
    Color change 65% 72% 51%
    View on a model 61% 65% 55%
    View in a room 50% 52% 44%

    [Read more…]

    Will Printed Instructions Slow Down Your Product’s Success?

    As a savvy product manager, chances are you run a tight ship when it comes to new product launches.

    Your company’s strategists carefully research the concept’s viability. Your engineers translate it into an appealing prototype. Production delivers on time and on budget. The marketing campaign rolls out as planned, just prior to launch.

    Under your watchful eye, the entire product development team pulls together and meets all launch targets. Voila! Success!

    Sales begin to grow. Momentum is building. You’re a Product Management rock star.

    Then suddenly, reports start trickling in about increasing rates of returns and consumer complaints.

    Yikes. What went wrong?

    With any product launch, potential risks always exist.

    Almost 75% of newly-launched consumer goods and retail products fail. – Harvard Business Review Tweet It!

    Sometimes, an obvious culprit is the one most often overlooked: customers just don’t understand how to install or use your product. You included a manual, you say? Guess what? That may no longer be enough.

    [Read more…]

    Is Your Best Product Content Sitting Under Your Nose?

    Once upon a time in a land far far away, consumers were satisfied to learn about a product by simply reviewing features printed on a sales tag, consulting with an all-knowing salesperson and getting a magical in-person demo. Consumers lived happily ever after — making decisions based on limited product information.

    But enough with the fairy tale…

    Today’s savvy consumers are far more resourceful. They want to be as smart as the salesperson the minute they walk into the store. They want to understand complex product features, feel confident about installation and decide for themselves whether the product will benefit them.

    In short: The consumer no longer wants to be “sold to.” They want to be an educated, informed partner in the transaction.

    In fact, in today’s retail environment, online product information increasingly trumps information from in-store personnel.

    “Over 90 percent of consumers research a product online prior to making a purchase in a store.” — National Retail Federation

    ——

    “43% of consumers said they would trust a sales associate more if the associate was aided by a web-connected device.” — Point of Sales News

    So, how can you produce informational and educational content for consumers without reinventing the wheel or breaking your marketing budget? The answer may be closer than you think.

    [Read more…]