June 13, 2008, 12:00 AM

The future of rich media lies in combining technologies

Rich media encompasses several technologies that aid shoppers in visualizing products. Its future lies in the combination of these technologies to create a compelling web experience, says the president of Vendaria.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

When e-retailers think rich media, they think pan-and-zoom and spin imagery, color swap, Flash applications, online video, HD video, and other product visualization technologies. What does the future hold for these technologies? The future is not in using them individually but in weaving them together to present the best possible web experience for shoppers, said Scott Roth, president of Vendaria, a rich media technology company.

Roth spoke on rich media at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in a session titled “What’s the Future of Rich Media?”

“These tools are tremendously important, but the future is not simply about tools-it’s about utilizing these tools in a compelling, engaging and relevant way that drives a customer to transact,” Roth said. “Rich media needs to move to creating an experience.”

Roth gave an example buying a rug, a process he says is simpler online than in store because of rich media.

Shoppers can use site search technology to drill down by price, size, fabric and other factors to sort through hundreds of rugs and find just the one they’re seeking. From there, rich media can take over. “Terrific imagery that shows the detail and texture and with magnification down to the fiber level, combined with seeing the rug in various room views,” he said. “This is employing many rich media tools in a way that is very powerful to shoppers.”

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