To say online consumers are demanding is an understatement: Retailers must present as many features of a product as possible before shoppers will be comfortable buying without seeing the item in person.
Among companies that have developed technology to tackle this dilemma is RotaryView, which promises to create professional 360-degree images for “free or at a very low cost,” says CEO and co-founder Gev Rotem, “compared to industry technology typically costing thousands of dollars.”
The idea for RotaryView’s technology began five years ago with a woodcarving. Rotem wanted to display his own carving of his girlfriend’s head online but could only show it from the front and side. His search for a simple and affordable 360-degree solution found nothing available at that time. His cousin had 15 years’ experience in creating three-dimensional models, though, so the two joined forces.
“We offer a turnkey solution by supplying customers with the ability to create product views in three dimensions with equipment costing less than $100,” Rotem says. All that is needed is a rotating table, a timer and the RotaryView application. Clients who sign up for the company’s yearly plan receive the mobile application, table, timer and access to a gallery of images.
The app was launched in September 2012; one year later an online database of product images became available to users. “We launched the database because many users were uploading the same images,” he says, adding that its availability has created a community of users who help each other.
Oren Dar, CEO of Eyewear-Direct, has used RotaryView to present eyewear possibilities to customers online. He says that the app makes the creation of high quality 360-degree views of products easy. “We have a small studio in our office with one tripod,” he says. “We shoot three to four views of every item without a photographer.” Every product in the eyewear company’s catalog must be photographed for the two style seasons annually, and Dar says waiting to receive product shots from a photographer used to take weeks. “Now,” he says, “anyone in the office can take the photos with a digital camera.”
Dar says it takes between three and five minutes to upload each item, which he considers to be an advantage in time savings. Photos with 360-degree views are important to sales, he says, because eyewear is a very personal purchase. “RotaryView gave us the option to zoom in and out on products as well as move left and right … giving the customer a complete view of their potential purchase,” he says. The technology also allows his company to add a watermark and logo to each photo.
RotaryView’s mobile app, in versions for iOS and Android, is available at no charge. The “advanced solution” allows users to upload photos from their own digital cameras; users typically spend $100 with this option, according to RotaryView. The third option, the recently launched 360-degree Image Bank, offers a large library of free photos: Users like eBay resellers can use the images without having to shoot and upload their own versions of the same product.
The company claims the product can boost online sales as much as 30 percent and also reduce the number of product returns. Although originally created to help small businesses compete in the online arena, retailers of any size can use the technology, Rotem says.