sproutrospectives

Visualization: The Ecommerce Marketing Engine

How leading commercial and consumer businesses use digital visualization to communicate product stories—big to small, online and off.
Jack O'Farrell
March 18, 2021
Maxam Tires Render in-context on grass

"Pre-pandemic, 33% of consumers had never shopped online. By just June of 2020, 25% of the 33%, had transitioned to online shopping."

—BOARD OF INNOVATION (2020)

"In the US alone, 62% of general consumers said they’re shopping online more now than before Covid-19."

—BAZAARVOICE (2020)

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Perspective

The economic advantages of selecting digital imaging over traditional photography hit a tipping point with the arrival of Covid-19. Costly and cumbersome photoshoots became even more so with the addition of pandemic precautions. But the real takeaway for those who arrived at this digital moment, either by push or by jump, was just how disciplined high-volume digital imaging has become. Whether they came for the cost efficiencies and stayed for the creative flexibility, or vice versa, there’s no going back.

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K&N—A B2C Dynamo

With over 50 years of experience, K&N is the DIY filtration leader for cars, trucks, marine, powersports, and industrial vehicles and applications. When you multiply its diverse application platforms by its myriad product variants, the K&N image library is expansive and growing. Elevating their brand experience to meet the criteria set by Amazon for its A+ Content meant unifying the quality and the consistency of their iconic visual assets across the entire K&N product line. But creating an amazing image style was just the start. Ensuring image quality control across hundreds of SKUs was the ultimate challenge. Each product image needed to both visually communicate the authenticity of the K&N brand and confirm the form factor of the part being replaced - without a word. Exploded views and hi-res cutaways were added to put features in context, creating teaching moments for patented details like stainless mesh filtration. By converting over 80% of their inventory to digital product images, K&N was able to create a visual design language where K&N branded assets work individually and collectively to affirm the brand’s category dominance.

Making precision engineering more than a copy point.

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MAXAM—A B2B Powerhouse

MAXAM Tire is a global industry leader in the specialty tire manufacturing and distribution business with a reputation for exotic, high-performance products. While a high-quality, well-composed image of a tire will always get the attention of a motivated buyer, we asked: what would distinguish our images as “MAXAM tires”? For starters, scale. At 16 feet tall and 5 feet wide, simply photographing some of their most iconic SKUs was economically unfeasible. By migrating to digital visualization, MAXAM found that they could consistently convey product quality and detail while unifying their brand identity across 7 sub-categories and diverse use cases. Beyond traditional online and offline product line communications, the new 3D digital inventory now supports the work of marketing creative teams whose customers never tire of seeing traction in action.

At 16’ x 5’ this bigfoot defies studio photography.

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Staples—A B2B+C Juggernaut

With a portfolio of over 16,000 SKUs, 5 signature brands, and an online and retail presence serving commercial and consumer buyers, Staples was ready for the COVID work-from-home moment. Their mission to replace almost all of their product photography with digital images by 2022 was well underway when the pandemic hit. Agile digital assets enabled them to respond quickly to market dynamics that now favored some products over others and rewarded new work-from-home offers. Being able to quickly change the color, material, configuration, or environment — of a static image, video, VR, or Interactive demo — became a competitive advantage. Digitally equipped Staples teams can now rapidly create marketing materials, in-store displays, and on-package graphics that are in sync with ever-quicker product development and manufacturing cycles. The “we got that” and “easy button” people have added a new trick: digital magic.

Maintain colors, materials & finishes uniformly & universally.

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About SproutViz

Sprout Viz is a product visualization studio focused on creating high resolution, photorealistic, computer-generated imagery (CGI), renderings, and animations. We help our clients define a visual brand language for their digital assets that will increase customer engagement with their brands, encourage purchase confidence, and stand out in a crowded digital economy.

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