Shopping in the Round
Online shopping is the norm for many consumers, and these information-hungry shoppers are demanding more data about products they might order. The largest online retailers have offered shoppers the ability to view potential purchases from all angles for several years — a process heretofore too costly for small retailers. Now Arqball Spin is providing retailers a less expensive way to give consumers a 360-degree look at products on tablets and smartphones.
Arqball’s genesis began with 3D graphics, including 360-degree visualizations for iPad books. Jason Lawrence, co-founder of Arqball and a professor at the University of Virginia, knew there must be more applications for this technology; online commerce became his target.
He also knew that, in the age of smartphones and tablets, Arqball’s product needed to be easier to access than the technology currently in use, yet powerful enough to display products. By offering the product on a subscription basis, the company puts it in the price range of all retailers.
Arqball Spin is available as a free app for iOS and Android. With a free account, users can have up to five spins and 1,000 views per month — a good way to evaluate Arqball Spin at no risk, according to Lawrence. The views/spins may be used for e-commerce or social media sites. Customers can use the camera on a smartphone or a digital SLR camera to take photos of the product they want to “spin” as it revolves on a turntable.
Subscriptions start at $19.95 per month for unlimited spins with 10,000 views per month; Lawrence says competitors charge $3,000 to $5,000 for dedicated systems. Arqball has tallied 7,000 users and nearly 12,000 spins since its launch last March.
Highlighting product features
Cosmic Ears designs and manufactures custom in-ear monitors for music and audio books. It uses the Arqball Spin user technology to display its product and also produce a revenue stream. Customers of Cosmic Ears can pay a small fee to view spins of their earphones being manufactured to monitor progress. The company says that static photographs “only go part of the way to showing what our products really are.” The labeling feature of Arqball Spin allows Cosmic Ears to accurately represent a good ear impression, resulting in higher quality customer submissions.
Other businesses using Arqball Spin to display products include Cannondale Experts, an online store that sells high-end bicycle equipment; iBriar, a pipe seller; Puppy Pins, offering custom lapel pins featuring dogs; and Knot Standard, a haberdasher selling tailored men’s suits. Knot Standard uses Arqball Spin to display its entire line of suits and shirts.
Why add the ability to view products from all sides? Products with a 360-degree spin feature have conversion rates from 10 to 30-plus percent higher than products without the feature. Studies have shown that 360-degree spins also reduce return rates because customers can get a better view of the product they are purchasing.