Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Top 20 Most Notable E-commerce Moments

Happy birthday E-commerce!

E-commerce turns 20 this year (if you count it’s birth being the introduction of selling books and pizza delivery online), and I think we can all agree it’s is anything but a few years past “minor” status. E-commerce is an integral part of our lives, credit card bills, and doorsteps. Check out the following infographic for some of my favorite moments in e-commerce of the last two decades.

e-commerce timeline 1979 – Michael Aldrich invents online shopping.

1991 – Swreg creates the first online merchant account for selling software. 1994 – First ecommerce transaction by NetMarket.

1994 – Online pizza ordering and delivery made available by PizzaHut 1994 – Amazon is born.

1994/1995 – The first third-party services for processing online credit card sales began to appear (i.e. First Virtual and CyberCash).

1995 – Verisign begins developing digital IDs, or certificates, that verify the identity of online businesses. Verisign later certified that a Web site’s e-commerce servers were properly encrypted and secure.

1995 – eBay launches.

1996 – Just one year later, with two full-time employees, eBay sells $7.2 million worth of goods online.

1997 – Paypal launches first online payment method.

1999 – Zappos, the first online shoe retailer, comes onto the scene to lead e-commerce apparel sales.

2000 – Amazon offers its platform to other retailers and resellers.

2005 – Shop.org announces term “Cyber Monday”.

2005 – Product video comes onto the scene to show more in-context views of products sold online.

2008 – The Great Recession begins in Q3, threatening businesses’ profits, especially online retailers. The economy shows signs of recovery four years later in 2012.

2008 – Groupon is launched, changing the way deals are found and sold online.

2009 – Amazon acquires Zappos.

2011 – 360 product photography comes onto the scene to allow shoppers to see additional angles of items before buying.

2013 – An interactive 3D product experience is developed for brands to use to allow shoppers to see every last angle of an item.

2017 – Amazon plans to launch drones in order to provide what CEO Jeff Bezos calls “Amazon Prime Air”.

Lastly, here’s another cool infographic on e-commerce and its “rich” history. Pun intended.

Axe Bat

Why 3D Photography for Ecommerce?

People always expect marketers to keep up with the latest trends. As a marketer myself, I’m introduced to new technologies and services almost daily, sometimes hourly. It can get overwhelming. Product marketing on ecommerce is an area with plenty of options for enhancing your optimization efforts. Will this type of advanced photography, an interactive 3D photography platform, help us marketers realize our conversion goals? What are the real, verifiable reasons behind why 3D photography makes sense for ecommerce? Let me explain.

1. It’s true-to-life

3D scanning and 3D photography techniques are true-to-shape, true-to-texture, and true-to-color. Basically, it’s the closest thing to holding the product in your little hot hands. Once the assets are captured in a 3D studio, they are developed and rendered for display on ecommerce product pages.

2. It looks cool

…but not cool as in it will disappear in a few years. Uniqueness and standing out from the competition go hand in hand, especially when that competition could be nearby, or hanging out in the next browser tab.

3. It’s interactive

Instead of just paging through a couple of flat photos like a dusty old photo album, shoppers are able to spin, drag, pan and zoom the product at will. Freedom is a beautiful thing.

4. It’s a quality, high-resolution experience

There’s no room on the internet for blurry or visibly pixelated images, especially in a store setting when every impression counts. With a flick of the scroll on your mouse, you’ll be able to zoom in to the item and check out even the most tiny of details on the item in stunning resolution.

5. You can show more features

A great pair of laces on a pair of shoes, but also a fun tread? A lovely hem on an outdoor coat that also has ornate detail embroidery on the lapel? With 3D, all features can be explored and discovered by shoppers at their leisure.

6. Customers will be delighted

Happy shoppers turn into happy customers. Experiential marketing is valuable not just for brick & mortar, but for online as well.  In the age of over-stimulation and issues around market saturation, it’s more important than ever to create experiences that draw in and delight customers.

7. Sales will increase

Studies show that the more viewable you make a product online and the better you display the product, the more you make it rain…in other words, the more you convert online.

8. Item returns will decrease

Good product imagery on your site should help manage the expectation of what the customer will receive in the mail. That means there are fewer uncertainties in the buying process and therefore less returns after purchase.

9. Shoppers won’t be kept waiting for the page to load
Aside from being annoying for the customer, the data speaks for itself in terms of load time’s impact on conversion. A case study by Intuit found that each 1-second improvement in page load times yielded a 3% increase in conversion rates. So 3D objects need to load quickly and act nimbly on the page for the best shopper experience possible and most optimal conversions.

10. Shoppers can view the model on any browser, any device

That’s right, desktop, laptop, mobile, tablet, or any other new fangled thing out on the market right now will support a 3D-enabled product detail page.

11. You’ll know what your customers like most about the product

Rich behavioral analytics will not just back up your decision to 3-dimensionalize an ecommerce experience, but also help your product development teams determine features to include or not include in upcoming product designs. This includes heat mapping of the shoppers’ specific interactions with the product viewer.

12. It’s a full-service platform 

3D interactive photography includes 3D scanning, 3D object optimization, ecommerce platform integration, and analytics.

13. You can keep your other assets on the page

It’s still valuable to have in-context photos and videos of the item being used, so this does not need to be a complete replacement for your product display strategy. If it ain’t broke, optimize it instead with additional content to show it off!

14. It’s as easy to add to a site as other commercial photography options

Send your product to the scanning laboratory and production studio for processing, and be notified when the 3D object is ready to be integrated into the site. 3D objects are easily integratable into any and all ecommerce platforms (like Magento, Demandware, Shopify, etc.). Leave it to the professionals to make the magic happen, and it’ll be smooth sailing thereafter.

15. It’s ahead of the curve & futuristic

We’ve seen 360 photography and 3D product video enter the scene as game changers for ecommerce conversions. But interactive, seamless, and functional 3D photography is the future of retail, and will impact our society greatly. Case in point, the Amazon 3D phone (Fire), Project Tango by Google, Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets, and others. Don’t get left behind.

Join the revolution to 3D and check out what it can do for you …I am at this prizmiq outfit that does just that. Reach out and say hi!

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Outdoor Retailer 2014: Our Debut Appearance

Oh yes, It’s that time of year again. The time where the great outdoors’ finest brands descend on Salt Lake City to show off their latest and greatest. That’s right, its time for the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show and open air demo. An array of products from good ‘ole camping, climbing and fishing standards to the hot new “gottahaveit” items will be on display for thousands of eager attendees.

prizmiq’s own Amaris Morrison will be hitting the booths of Outdoor Retailer in search of the next great product to bring into the third dimension. Could it be a carabineer? Perhaps a tomahawk? Maybe even some elk jerky?! One thing is certain: a few lucky exhibitors will be dazzled by our technology and inducted into the futuristic realm of e-tailing.

We are all looking forward to hearing updates from the conference that runs from the 6th to the 9th of August. And if we are lucky those of us back home might get some of that elk jerky. For more info on the trade show, visit www.outdoorretailer.com.

Dentist

The Most Boring Virtual Reality Experiences: A Trip to the Dentist

To kick off, I would love to start with an experience that already has drool dripping on my shirt, or rather, a paper bib. You guessed it: it’s America’s second favorite pastime, visiting your friendly neighborhood DDS or dental professional. The experience begins in your living room, the moment an automated voice calls your home phone (yes, the one solely reserved for telemarketers) and reminds you of your inconveniently scheduled appointment in vivid stereo audio. Screen fades to black. Now, imagine yourself in a pastel waiting room with 1998’s finest art hanging on every dreary wall. The receptionist clacks away on a keyboard as the incredibly realistic hum and bubble of a sparsely populated fish tank plunges you in this most virtual of realities.

You reach for one of the magazines you would never dream of subscribing to on the side table to your right – the pages crinkled almost like dozens have turned those very pages before.  You thumb through the pictures of holiday roast recipes despite it being early August. That’s when your full birth name is called. “How strange to hear my full name being called as I’ve gone by a nickname for most of my life,” you think. That’s when the real fun begins.

As you are guided back to the dentist’s chair, your heart flutters with jubilant anticipation of having someone scrape your teeth with a metal hook. Then, there you are, in the most stunning 1080p staring at slightly textured ceiling panels while an unforgiving florescent light bathes your eyes in its unnatural glow. This portion of the experience has no set time limit – which is the thrilling part. It’s just you, the ceiling, and the scraping noises. Occasionally, the dentist will ask you open-ended questions about your personal life or work, to which you play along and give your best answers with the back of your throat while your mouth hangs agape.

After dozens of thrilling minutes the dentist murmurs something about flossing more and just like that, you visit is over. You’re handed a lifelike bag with a new toothbrush in it and you are on your way. The picture within the Oculus slowly fades to black and the credits roll. You sigh and realize your first encounter with the most realistic virtual reality is over already.

But seriously. You do need to floss more.

Check out other “Most Boring Virtual Reality Experiences” posts. 

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The Most Boring Virtual Reality Experiences

With the ungodly 2 billion dollar investment in Oculus Rift (virtual fist bump, Mark Zuckerberg) closing a few weeks back, the layperson must begin to ponder Facebook’s vision for the future of the virtual world. The second the word “virtual reality” crosses someone’s lips, an explosion of fantasy lands and wild scenery instantly race to mind. For me I choose to interpret virtual reality on a more entertaining level: real, dull, everyday events but happening on two tiny screens in front of my eyeballs. With this definition, the possibilities for mediocrity truly are limitless!

Every week I will do my best to provide the most “realistic” virtual reality experiences imaginable, and lucky you, be sharing them with you, dear reader. I fully endorse all of these experiences as 100% humdrum and invite any audacious Oculus developer to take a stab at creating them. Enjoy.

  1. A Trip to the Dentist
  2. The Happiest Place on Earth: The DMV
  3. Sitting in Traffic

Feel free to submit your own virtual reality experiences in the comments below.