May 26, 2011, 10:10 AM

Norwalk Furniture’s customers get comfortable with rich media

Dynamic imaging technology puts the best face on its products, says the retailer.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Lead Photo

Norwalk Furniture, a manufacturer and retailer of upholstered furniture, launched its first e-commerce site late last year, building it exclusively for one of its celebrated designers. And to ensure the site’s images complemented Norwalk’s reputation for quality and stylish designs, it decided to launch with digital imaging technology that would put the best face on its fabric-covered sofas and chairs, says Reyna Moore, director of marketing.

Norwalk’s new e-commerce site, MyCandiceDesign.com, features only products designed by Candice Olson, a designer who has appeared on network TV talk shows in the U.S. and Canada, including “Today” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” When choosing technology for the site, Norwalk wanted to ensure that Olson’s products would be portrayed in high-quality imaging, Moore says. “Candice is known for making beautiful designs, and we wanted to partner with someone in imaging technology who had a high caliber of rendering software,” she says.

Norwalk retained dynamIT, a web site design and technology firm, to build and host the new e-commerce site. On dynamIT’s recommendation, Norwalk chose LiquidPixels and its LiquiFire imaging software to provide multiple imaging features, including zoom and a product configuration tool. The LiquidPixels LiquiFire  application lets shoppers apply any of hundreds of combinations of colors, styles and fabrics to each piece of furniture, helping MyCandiceDesign.com engage shoppers as they decide whether to buy online or print out a product page and purchase in a store, Moore says.

“Our overall Candice sales are up 12% since we launched My Candice Design,” she says.

Norwalk’s online merchandising team received direct training for about two weeks from Liquid Pixels on how to use the LiquiFire software to support the retailer’s desired imaging features, Moore says. She adds that the software helps to overcome potential problems. For instance, it alerts merchandisers when a particular style of fabric design—stripes, for example—doesn’t fit well over certain furniture frames. In that case, the site’s merchandisers won’t make stripes a styling option for customers using the product configuration tool.

Norwalk also expects to learn more about how the new site’s design is affecting customers’ purchasing decisions. One way it plans to gain that information, Moore says, is through questions it will ask as part of a planned marketing campaign to entice customers back to its site to sign up for a warranty program.

Kevin Churchilldirector of global merchandising, for Patagonia, an e-retailer with a forte in online imaging technology, will discuss how to get the most of online content at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition next month in a session titled, “The changing role of the online merchant: Art vs. science.”

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