May 28, 2009, 12:00 AM

Philips manufactures a better web site experience with Scene7’s help

The consumer products maker uses Adobe Scene7 to manage a vast array of product images across its sites in 57 countries. Better image management draws consumers into the site and improves conversion, while reducing the operational overhead for Philips.

It’s challenging creating an exciting shopping experience on a single e-commerce site. Just imagine the task facing a global consumer products manufacturer like Philips that markets a broad array of products on web sites in 57 countries. Philips set out last year to make its web sites more compelling while reducing the operational overload-and accomplished both with the help of Adobe Scene7, says Gilles Domartini, vice president of online at Philips.

Philips uses Scene7 to manage the images of the roughly 7,500 products it presents on each of its web sites around the world. Philips now can upload a single master image of a product and Scene7 dynamically produces all the versions needed on a web site-from small thumbnails to blown-up detailed views displayed when a consumer zooms in on a product.

In the past, Philips would have to take pictures of each product from various angles and in various formats to accommodate all the ways it would be used on a web site, upload all these images into a database, and then update each one when a product changes. “Now, instead of going through each image to update it, you just update one of them,” Domartini says. “It’s really a win throughout the chain.”

That makes it possible for Philips to, at a reasonable cost, enable site visitors to zoom in on all products and see them from various angles. That can be very important for some of the technical products Philips sells, says Domartini. For instance, Philips television sets often have two kinds of connectors on the back-HDMI and USB. Showing a detailed view of the exact shape of each connector is often more helpful for the consumer than just giving the technical name, Domartini says.

The Scene7 technology is being used on the web sites Philips has traditionally maintained, which describe products and tells consumers where they can buy Philips products, and also on Philips’ own direct-to-consumer shopping sites that it launched late last year in the U.S. and four other countries. The U.S. site can be found at www.store.philips.com.

Consumers are spending more time on Philips’ sites as a result of the enhanced imaging features. Page views went up 15% over the course of 2008, and satisfaction with the design of the Philips sites went up in surveys from 74% to 86%. On measures of brand advocacy, Philips went up from 32% to 38% globally, and topped 40% in some countries, the company says.

Most importantly, conversion went up to 7% from about 5% previously. While Philips added some other technologies to its sites last year, Domartini says, “certainly Scene7 did contribute significantly to this increase.”

It’s also easier to control costs, Domartini says, when all of the images are managed by one provider than if many design and e-commerce teams are shooting photos, managing them and updating them. Philips pays based on the number of images viewed. “You can much better control your costs,” Domartini says. “We only pay for the service rendered and not so much for the overall infrastructure.”

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