September 9, 2010, 5:03 PM

Manufacturer Skirt Sports uses a new system to get images to retailers fast

Skirt Sports has implemented a system to speed product images to resellers.

Skirt Sports, a manufacturer of women’s activewear, has implemented a new system to speed up getting product images to the more than 500 retailers and distributors that sell its products online and in bricks-and-mortar retail locations across the globe.  

Skirt Sports had been routinely sending 300-megabyte Zip files to each of its resellers—for example, when it updated its inventory or when a reseller needed a new image. Resellers then had to download and review the entire Zip file. This process was repeated at least twice a year because Skirt Sports releases two lines annually, Skirt Sports says. For Skirt Sports resellers, downloading and viewing batches of 250 to 300 images, was extremely time-consuming, especially if they were only selling a handful of the items pictured.

So when one of the company’s resellers, Asana Activewear, told Jason Walle, vice president of e-commerce for Skirt Sports, about a free image exchange tool from vendor shotfarm LLC, he decided to try it.

“We tested the system with one of our larger retailers, REI, who has employees whose sole responsibility is to gather digital assets for all the products they sell,” says Walle. “I figured they must have been exposed to every method of image-sharing available.”

To use shotfarm’s image management and distribution system, Skirt Sports uploads its hundreds of product images to shotfarm’s centralized hub and then allows its resellers to access and preview individual image thumbnails prior to downloading the them.

The process is significantly reducing the amount of time and manpower needed for Skirt Sports resellers to gather product images, the manufacturer says. Resellers report they have cut the time it takes to access and select the images they need by 75%, Skirt Sports says.

After trying it out, Walle says REI was impressed. “They immediately gave us the green light, as did our Australian distributor,” Walle says.

Walle also says that by streamlining the transfer of approximately 150,000 images it sends per year he has not only saved time for his resellers, but now Skirt Sports’ products can be marketed and sold more quickly, too.

Skirt Sports also receives, on average, two to three dozen requests per month from the news media and from the marketing firms it works within the first few months after new collections arrive, Walle says. In using shotfarm to respond to these requests, Skirt Sports has eliminated the need to search for and manually distribute the large files to them. “Media requests have the tendency to be urgent, so the team would have to switch gears immediately to fulfill time-consuming requests,” Walle says. “Shotfarm has eliminated all of that.”

While the hosted image-management service is free, shotfarm is planning to launch a more robust hosted image viewer for a fee. That tool will make rich media—including customization, rotation and zoom—easier to access, view and manage, shotfarm says.

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