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Free Online Service Shotfarm Allows Furniture Retailers & Manufacturers To Exchange Product Images

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Efficiency is the ultimate mantra in today’s business climate, but product image management – on which the retail marketing industry spends $5 billion annually according to AMR Research – continues to be the exception to the rule.

Chicago-based start-up shotfarm aims to change that with a free online service recently made available to home furnishing retailers and manufacturers.  The current process for securing product images is an entirely manual one: retailers must contact countless vendors to request what they need and vendors must respond to those requests individually using everything from CDs, DVDs and email to ftp sites and proprietary image libraries. Shotfarm’s Product Image Exchange provides a simple answer: manufacturers put all their product images and information in a single place where retailers can go to get them. One system, one password, one workflow.

Shotfarm offers a gallery-style interface for finding, tracking, organizing and sharing product images, an automatic reminder option for image requests, image quality requirements, batch uploading, asset tagging and customizable batch downloading…all within a secure, permission-based environment.

This suite of features takes on key "pain points" that make product image management so ripe for a better approach, including multiple methods of product image transfer, an extensive chain of contacts, time- and cost-intensive processes, and a considerable margin for error.
"As former creative manager for the Sears & Kmart catalogs and websites, I know that managing the image collection process for our furniture products alone was an enormous task, not only for the marketing team, but for our furniture buyers as well," said Meg Robinson, Chief Operating Officer of shotfarm.  "A single method of exchange for all our partners would have been a lifesaver; once retailers and manufacturers join shotfarm and begin to realize the significant efficiencies, we anticipate a domino effect."  

The shotfarm model offers synergies that will only increase each time a retailer or manufacturer invites another partner.  And there are good reasons to invite: shotfarm member Asana Activewear recently saw an immediate 50 percent increase in efficiency related to image exchange and management among partners using shotfarm compared with those who haven’t joined yet.

The free image exchange is only the beginning of shotfarm’s groundbreaking products; coming in June, a hosted viewer will make rich media extremely affordable, manageable and effective for all businesses big and small.  The HTML5-based hosted viewer will permanently eliminate the need to standardize, rename and resize images, generate thumbnails, and upload images to a separate hosting provider.  

"Rich media, specifically zoom and 360-spin, is of critical importance for bigger ticket items like furniture, so our hosted viewer is an especially appealing offer to the home furnishings sector," said Mike Lapchick, founder and CEO of shotfarm.  "Product images can be hosted directly from shotfarm’s free Product Image Exchange, which enables people to request, find, organize and host high resolution product images without renaming, resizing or transferring a single file." 
www.shotfarm.com for more information.

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