September 22, 2011, 11:43 AM

For a distributor, a photo management system gets product data to resellers faster

Lafuma Group uploads more than 3,000 photos so resellers can get them on demand.

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Lafuma Group America doesn’t sell directly to shoppers online but instead works with e-retailers such as Backcountry.com and REI.com to get its high-end outdoor apparel and gear to consumers. With more than 3,000 product photos across four brands to manage and distribute to resellers, Lafuma Group America needed to stay organized and be able to get images to resellers quickly.

The distributor last spring began working with Shotfarm, a free photo management system that acts as a photo repository for manufacturers. The online management system replaced the distributor’s previous process, which included burning photos to discs and shipping them to resellers, and then following the shipment with e-mails whose attachments contained each item’s product worksheet, which supplied sample product descriptions, SKU and sizing information. 

Lafuma Group America marketing manager Lisa Andrews says it was a tedious, time-consuming process. “It was just me, burning hundreds of CDs,” she says. “I’m finding that it is definitely more practical when I can send them online.”

With Shotfarm, product worksheet data comes attached to each photo, which means resellers don’t have to manually match photos with the product data as before. Andrews says she keys in the data on her end so everything is in one place so resellers can grab a photo and the data at once.

Andrews says the four brands Lafuma markets in the United States primarily cover three of the four seasons, which means resellers need photos nearly year round. Outerwear brands Millet, Eider and Killy are big for the ski season, and the Lafuma brand includes hiking and camping gear, which covers most of the rest of the year.

Photos and product data originate at Lafuma Group’s headquarters in France and the turnaround time the distributor has from when it can get the photos—sent in the mail on discs or manually downloaded from an internal web sharing site by Andrews—to when they need to be in reseller’s hands is often short. Andrews says once she gets through a full year’s sales cycle and can get a read from Lafuma’s resellers about how they feel about nixing the CD process, she’ll try to convince headquarters that the photo sharing system can help with the company’s own photo distributor processes.

Recreational Equipment Inc., or REI, is No. 62 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Lafuma is No. 289 in the Europe 300 Guide.

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