Make room for espacemax 3D conversion rate

By Kate
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espacemaxbuildingspace

Just before I opened the door of espacemax’s headquarters, a tall baseball-capped teen ran by me, about turned, and then scooted in behind me as I (now urban smart after living in Paris over a decade) nervously entered the door.

To my relief, it was just a male model fresh from New York City, one hour late to a casting.  A few seconds later the stylist greeted the sweaty pinup, flipped through his book, asked if he knew another model named Angle or Jewel, I forget, then asked for his composite card, spun around and went back to the photo shoot.

The world of fashion whether online or at headquarters is like that.  Fast, efficient, busy.

packingmerchandiseThen there are the boxes.  Boxes glorious boxes.  All that merchandise purchased and ready to be shipped to anticipating arms.  The white gold of online shopping, boxes.

Given Dassault Systèmes’ recently announced partnership with espacemax, French luxury goods and fashion e-shopping business, I wanted to find out what the head honcho thinks about 3D and see what’s in store for the next quarters.

But before I share that interview, here’s a little (tout petit) video I whipped up to get you in the mood.  You may know espacemax for the sleeky, glossy fashionista e-commerce site that it is, but this is espacemax in the physical world:

YouTube Preview ImageBefore I get into my interview with espacemax’s general director, here’s a brief look at the company’s three business activities:

  • Catherine Max: physical world showrooms hosting weekly private sales of high-end luxury goods and fashion.  Think LVMH, etc.  Last year’s collections are sold at steep discounts, 60-90%.  First in France to launch this activity in  . . . 1993.
  • espacemax: an online twin to Catherine Max and more.  You can also buy in-season items at espacemax (not on sale), just as you would buy Kenzo at a department store.
  • Selectiveweb: a new business line for Groupe Catherine Max.  They create and operate e-shopping sites for high-end brand names within their mother brand URLs.

It’s getting late so I won’t provide the entire transcribed interview (please forgive me Pierre-Etienne), but here’s a recap of my exchanges with espacemax Directeur Général Adjoint Pierre-Etienne Boilard:

pierre_etienne

Q1:  Why interactive 3D, and why now?

PEB: I’ll start with two figures.  In the mortar business, conversion rate is 55 %, meaning that 55 % of people who leave a shop leave with a product.  In e-commerce it’s 1.46 %.  This shows that Internet-based businesses aren’t as developed as mortar businesses.  During the last 10 years the battle was traffic.  And I can tell you that the next 10 will be the battle of the conversion rate.

Conversion rate is our main focus, especially since we are working in the luxury and fashion industries, in which the products you buy are not commodities like a TV.  If you buy a TV you just need to know the features and rackofclothesprices and then decide and purchase.  Buying a fashion product is a commitment because it reflects who you are.  We call it inspirational purchase.

Given our business we decided we wanted to improve the quality of the product presentation to help people buy the product.  We have a barometer study conducted by Opinion Way that examines what consumers need to have online in order to feel more confident buying luxury and fashion goods via Internet. Around 80 % of them said they wanted 3D product visualization.

So we started the partnership with Dassault Systèmes and its innovative  and creative Interactive Strategy team at a time when we started to look into how to provide this to our users, and a time when you were looking to push the limits of what you can do in the luxury and fashion goods industries.

Q2:  The 3D campaign is young, but have you noticed any first signs of how it will impact sales and customer engagement?

PEB: Yes we’ve noticed two good signs so far.  The first, our products displayed in 3D sold out very fast!  We’ve had to order another stock for the campaign.  The second, we’ve had lots of calls to our aftersales services asking for us to put more products into 3D.

Q3: You’re activity is based in France and in French, but in particular with the French brands you represent, there’s international appeal.  Do you have any customers living outside of France?  What countries are represented?

PEB: Today our site is in French and people pay in Euros.  While most of our customers are French, members can friend people to the club from Western Europe.  And these people represent 5-10 % of our sales.  This is a good indicator, so we have plans to expand espacemax to different languages and currencies, starting with Europe.  And once that’s complete we’ll add the Americas and Asia-Pacific, including China.  When we go international we’ll for sure include 3DVIA interactive 3D applications.

Q4: What’s next with interactive 3D?

cutiepiePEB: Many things!  First we’d like to industrialize the process already started with Dassault Systèmes.  With the launch application, we created three 3D models.  We’d like to expand that to our entire in-season products line.

The second thing is technical.  We’d like to offer people a complete avatar, not just with the person’s face, but with their full morphology so they can ‘try on’ different clothes and brands to see which are the most flattering for their body types.  This is intended as a customer service of course, but it’s also to decrease our return rate!

The third thing to come is working with Dassault Systèmes to distribute the 3DVIA technology directly to luxury brands as part of our selectiveweb work.

Merci beaucoup Pierre-Etienne!  I know my mother in America will be particularly thrilled to be able to shop for French brands online at espacemax.  We’ve got to find a way to add smell to the immersive 3D experience though; she’s a diptyque fan.

Seriously, your 3D program is great and I was particularly pleased to learn about the Opinion Way study.  I’ll look forward to checking back in later and see if that conversion rate has increased!

And you readers, do you think you’d buy more if you could 3D-try-and-buy first?  Here’s a video about the espacemax 3D application.  Check it out and let me know . . .

YouTube Preview ImageBest,

Kate

Hands-On Medical VR @ swYm

By Kate
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PSS dice view

No, this is not a dice game. It’s a serious VR system for medical professionals and specialists in other areas such as Oil & Gas, and training and simulation.

Today at the swYm conference, Personal Space Technologies’ Director, drs. Arjen Brinkman, kindly coached me through my first try with Personal Space Station (PSS). Unlike the targeted end-users, I didn’t get to hold a pumping human heart in my hands, but I did get to play around with 3D clay modeling.

You can see in the below photo that Arjen even modeled my name.

PSS kate

The problem with hospital technology is that you mostly end up with compromised 3D data that loses information necessary for accurate diagnostic and treatment decisions. For example, you could have a fancy 3D MRI machine, but the display screen is 2D which squashes the 3D information. You just can’t see everything, and details matter in medicine!

Here’s a 21st Century Business video that explains and shows the technology in action. You’ll note an interview with the same Arjen who modeled my name.

YouTube Preview Image

At a time in the Life Sciences industry where we hear a lot of talk about nanoscience, etc., I’m happy to have come across a technology that’s so tangible and ready for mainstream usage. Dare I say it’s “lifelike”?

Many thanks Arjen for your initiation. I look forward to following your company and am happy to see VR working its magic in the healthcare world.

Best,

Kate

P.S. Personal Space Technologies is a Dassault Systèmes ETCC partner. That stands for Emerging Technology Channel Community.

SCC Day 3 – Just the Beginning

By Tim
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The traditional group photo at the 2010 SCC was at another beautiful location. We had a police escort for the nearly 400 attendees who walked several blocks from the Convention Center to the steps of the Rhode Island State Capitol in Providence –  in 96 degree fahrenheit weather! The sweltering heat dampened our shirts, but not our spirits as we headed to the top of the Biltmore hotel for a refreshing and icy Dell’s lemonade during the reception before our annual banquet.SCC2010_Group_Photo_cropped2

 The final day at SCC started out early. But even those who stayed out a bit too late taking the Trolley to local night spots, showed up on time to hear Matt Dunbar, SIMULIA’s Chief Software Architect talk about trends in High Performance Computing. SIMULIA continues to push the limits of cluster computing so that customers can simulate their products faster, with ever increasing levels of complexity.

Of course there were more than a dozen customer presentations including sessions on the innovative use of realistic simulation in manufacturing, civil engineering, materials, forming, defense, and automotive.

partners_microsoftOur customers also had a chance to wrap up the event with final visits to the partner booths. CD-adapco and Microsoft, our premier sponsors, along with 23 additional partners were able to share their complimentary technology solutions throught the event.

The closing General Lecture from SIMULIA featured  Bruce Engelmann, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, David Fox, Director of Mechanics Technology. They took the stage to provide details on our strategy for delivering a broader range of multiphysics simulation solutions. Mark Christon, Director of SIMULIA CFD Technology joined them and highlighted details on the the latest Computational Fluid Dynamics capabilities in Abaqus 6.10.

scott2Scott Berkey, SIMULIA’s CEO wrapped up the 2010 SCC by highlighting the record breaking statistics of the SCC, including more than 400 attendees and 105 presentations.

Scott encouraged our customers to keep driving the use of realistic simulation technology to; achieve better insight into the “real world” behavior of their products, improve their product development cycles, and deliver superior quality products.

The conversations that were started during the 2010 SCC are not ending just because the conference is over. On the contrary, it’s just the beginning.

During the closing Q&A session, Ken Short, SIMULIA’s Vice president of Strategy and Marketing made it clear that the best way to influence the development direction of our solutions is for customers to engage in direct communications with our industry leads, field staff, and product management group. 

So, as you can see, the 2010 SCC is the foundation for the continued expansion of our global, industry-focused communities. Later this year, the SIMULIA Regional User Meetings  will provide 1000’s of our customers to gather in more than 30 locations worldwide. Plus, you will have more ‘online’ opportunities for conversing with SIMULIA, your peers, and our partners.

Oh – and did you hear? We announced the location for the 2011 SIMULIA Customer Conference – Barcelona, Spain!

Véale allí – See you there…

…and see you online too!

Tim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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