September 22, 2011, 11:26 AM

Sport-Thieme pushes up conversion rates with better images

The e-retailer also saves production time after overhauling its digital imaging system.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Lead Photo

Sport-Thieme, a Germany-based web and catalog retailer of gear for more than 100 types of sports, for years had struggled with managing dynamic product images for its 11 e-commerce sites and 11 print catalogs for markets throughout Europe. And though videos were important to promoting sales, managing them was so difficult that the retailer simply did away with them.

Moreover, the task of selecting images for about 15,000 products and saving them in multiple formats, including for web site zoom features and for the online versions of print catalogs, took up too much staff time and resources, the retailer says. “The image production process was very laborious and time-consuming,” e-commerce manager Frank Wenzel says. “The entire process required far too many staff members who could have been better utilized elsewhere in the company.”

That all changed recently when Sport-Thieme overhauled its imaging management system with Adobe Scene7 technology from Adobe Systems Inc., he says. The retailer is using the Adobe Scene7 eCatalog and eVideo systems on 10 of its e-commerce sites.

A shopper for an aqua cycler, for example, can view and zoom into several images of a person operating a cycle in a pool, and on the same product page also click into the digital version of a paper catalog featuring the same cycle as well as other products.

"We chose Scene7 because it provides us with an all-in-one solution for images, video and electronic catalogs," Wenzel says. "We now have more options open to us, thanks to the shortened time to market and the increased flexibility surrounding image material use. Product managers can quickly upload pictures of the product."

Since deploying Adobe Scene7, Sport-Thieme has cut in half the amount of time it spends developing and managing online images, Wenzel says. This has enabled it to more quickly introduce new products as well as provide a better and more visual online shopping experience for customers, resulting in a 3% boost in conversion rates, he adds.

“The purchasing experience has been significantly enhanced thanks to better, more detailed and more varied product images,” Wenzel says.

Sport-Thieme has also started to use Adobe Scene7 to bring videos back to its sites, with 125 up for now. Although the retailer has yet to track the impact of them on conversion rates, the videos play with a much higher quality than under the retailer’s former system, Wenzel says.

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