Blog | WebRotate 360 | Page 11

PayPal to our clients: the credit card you entered cannot be used for this payment..

by WebRotate 360 June 03, 2010 14:05

 We love PayPal. It gives us great flexibility, low transaction fees, truly global coverage, and many other great goodies. Though we have been struggling with the service in the last few months. Some of our customers have experienced odd issues when submitting credit card payments for our 360 product views without signing into PayPal. Regardless of the type of credit card they used, PayPal would always come back with an error, saying "The credit card you entered cannot be used for this payment. Please enter a different credit card number". This is pretty embarrassing when you can not accept a payment from your client, especially after the frustration of going back and forth on e-mail/phone trying to resolve the issue together. The problem here is that PayPal wouldn't really specify why this can happen...

It appears that this is a pretty well known PayPal glitch. Based on the article here, there are several possible causes:

  • Credit card is linked or associated with an existing PayPal account
  • Credit card was previously used with a PayPal account or assigned to a closed PayPal account
  • PayPal has a limit on non-member credit card usage
  • Credit card or email address raised a red flag during transaction
  • Leftover PayPal browser cookie on user machine

Unfortunately we couldn't really find a reliable solution and that prompted us to sign-up with a dedicated credit card processing service (2Checkout), which is now offered on our customer invoices in addition to PayPal. Yes, it has higher transaction fees, though the piece of mind it gives to our clients will definitely worth it.


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Excited About HTML 5?

by WebRotate 360 May 12, 2010 14:14

It is fascinating to see how HTML 5 buzz is spreading all over the Internet. Accelerated by Apple's decision to not support Flash on iPad, the news is now everywhere. Just follow HTML 5 keyword on Twitter and there will be no shortage of folks expressing their love to the new buzz word.

It is understandable that Scribd's CEO is "ditching" three years of Flash development in favor of HTML 5, but to say across the board that HTML5/CSS3 + JavaScript is a good replacement for Flash or Silverlight is absurd. Playing video is one thing and HTML 5 with appropriate browser support can probably compete there, though when it comes to anything a bit more complex than rendering text and changing button colors, the mix of HTML, CSS and JavaScript is an unfortunate choice. Lets face it, HTML/CSS was created to output static textual content and images. JavaScript, a Netscape by-product, was broadly adopted later to provide for the lack of interactivity via browsers' crippled and buggy DOM interfaces. Since then it seems that the greatest invention was jQuery that gave us a simplified interface for DOM manipulations and XMLHttpRequest that provided some means for asynchronous processing. Now there is canvas and the ability to draw lines and have pixel access... Not too shabby.

Adobe's Flash/Flex/AS3 is light years ahead. Here is just a few thoughts that come to mind:

  • Strongly typed ActionScript language
  • Truly object oriented with real classes and inheritance
  • Compile time error/type checking
  • Robust security model
  • Exceptions
  • Modular (packages, libraries, components)
  • Compiles into binary packages
  • Rich event architecture
  • Native XML support
  • Clear code/presentation separation (not talking about frame scripts here)
  • World class design and development tools with profound integration
  • Slew of multipurpose libraries

Silverlight is even further ahead with mature C# language, feature rich .NET platform/FCL, multi-threading, real debugger, and best development tools.

Who is to say that these RIA technologies are closed or proprietary? They are as closed as Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, etc., all of which have their own proprietary take on how to interpret HTML/CSS specifications, DOM, and the rest of the "modern" hotchpotch of open web standards.

We at WebRotate 360 are affected by Apple's decision to stop supporting Flash on their mobile devices.
360 product photography aside, all of our 360 product views and other rich media components are done in Flash. It makes perfect sense for us and few thousand of other companies who want superior technology for client-side web development. Yes, absolute majority of browsers out there does support Flash. More so, its adoption will be expanding rapidly thanks to the new Flash plug-in that will be coming soon to the Android devices. Still, we and our clients now have to adjust to the growing issue of compatibility.

On the bright side, our new rich media solution has been designed with the goal of addressing this and many other problems that e-commerce companies are facing today.


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Adobe: 200% increase for 360 product views in 2010

by WebRotate 360 April 03, 2010 19:52

Adobe has released another excellent survey of their Scene7 customers. For those of you who are not familiar with Scene7, it's a great tool or rather a service by Adobe that helps companies incorporate and manage rich media content on their websites. Serving big clients such as Sears and Macy's their price entry is steep with an yearly charge of 30-40K for publishing and managing rich media catalogs online.

The survey was conducted from November 9, 2009 to January 15, 2010. It covers a variety of industries across major markets: North America, Asia-Pacific, Western/Eastern Europe, Middle East , Africa, and Latin America. It's a 60 page document that goes into pretty good details evaluating how different industries/markets plan to adopt latest trends in digital media in 2010 with a primary focus on Interactive Rich Media, Social Media, Mobile Features and Personalization. Total of 546 companies have provided their feedback.

Here's what we found most interesting:

  • Current adoption of 360-degree product views is still very low. Only 7% of all responders have adopted this feature. Though, unsurprisingly, its planned adoption growth in 2010 is highest across all 21 rich media features evaluated. 22% of all responders plan to adopt 360 product images in 2010. This is a 200% increase! Combined with 3-D visualization that shows second fastest growing adoption rate (9% adopted vs 23% planned) and product tours (13% adopted vs 23% planed) we think we have a busy year ahead of us. To give you a comparison point, well established functionality such as Quick Looks/Rollover views and Alternative Images show marginal adoption growth with 20% adopted vs 21% planned and 17% adopted vs 18% planned respectively.
  • Product tours (combinations of guided spin, zoom imagery, videos or animations with copy) is ranked highest in effectiveness across all rated rich media features.
  • 27% more responders said that 360 product spin is a most effective feature to drive conversion/sales comparing to similar survey last year.
  • 70% of survey participants in North America have less that 10 million in annual sales with quarter of all responders being interactive/advertising agencies.

It's great to see companies embracing interactive rich media, and while e-commerce is still in its infancy (Forrester research says only 8% of all sales will be done online in 2014), the trend is clear and this survey only reassures that we are on the right track.

You can request a full copy of the survey here.


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Best Time to Get 360'd is Now!

by WebRotate 360 March 05, 2010 15:39

E-commerce is embracing rich media with unprecedented pace. Did you hear about Zappos' new idea to use augmented reality in product videos or 2009's E-commerce Innovation winner GlassesDirect with their 3D video mirror? Though cool, these technologies are still in their infancy and may not work well for everybody or even for Zappos or GlassesDirect. 360 product views that we create at WebRotate 360 have proven to quickly bring value to our customers. Read more »

Today is the best time to follow this growing trend and get 360'd with us. Here's why...


Free Hosting of Your Rich Media


While larger companies have their own "dedicated" servers, smaller folks rely on shared hosting which may not have sufficient bandwidth to deliver additional media smoothly. Hosting companies also charge an extra fee for additional disk space and bandwidth required to support "heavier" rich media such as 360 product views.

To address this issue we are now offering free hosting and maintenance of rich media for any clients receiving less than 10,000 product views per month.

 

Free Website Integration


We've come to realize that the technical integration of 360 views is perceived as a barrier. It's actually quite straightforward but with our new hosting service it's even easier. Now it's just a matter of pasting some code onto the web page and we're helping clients with that as well.


Free Hot-spot with Any Order


Have you seen our latest 360 viewers with animated hot-spots? If not, check out our updated online 360 viewer tour samples or click the links below to see some cool pre-production samples we're developing for our clients:  

 

[June 8th, 12 - these samples have been removed as part of our new website deployment. You can find our latest samples here]


Today we offer a free hot-spot of your choice that we will place on each of your product views free of charge!


Free Service Test


Do you have 20 or more products that you wanted to convert into interactive 360 degree product views for your store but were hesitate to proceed for particular reason? If so, we have great news. Send us just one of your products to test-drive our service. If you don't like it, you keep the money.


Free 360 Viewer Template Customization


This has been a paid add-on for a while now. For a limited time only we offer free 360 Viewer customization to match your website styles (colors, fonts, gradients, etc).


Free High Resolution Images


At the end, all of our 360 product views are made of a series of product images. We capture these images with very high resolution and then edit them in their original size so we can produce best results possible. We thought you might like it if we share these images with you for free.


Free Return Shipping


No more need to provide us with return FedEx or UPS slips - we'll ship your products back to you free (some limitations apply).

 

Get a Quote Now!   or   Read what our clients say


Host your 360 degree product views for FREE

by WebRotate 360 February 04, 2010 00:52

We are constantly thinking about how we can bring more value to our clients. We've been listening to you too... Time has come for us to start offering free web hosting for your 360 degree product views. If you are one of our customers who doesn't get beyond 10000 views per month combined on their repository of 360 product views, we thought this is a good deal for you!

Our competition still charges monthly fees for disk space and bandwidth regardless and relies on their servers that are not geographically distributed or sometimes robust (we've been there too!). At WebRotate 360 we have made the leap though, and this is going to be part of our standard offer through February 2011.

This is one of many announcements we've been planning in 2010. Stand by for more good news!


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Two shows in 4 days

by WebRotate 360 January 14, 2010 10:03

Our team just finished a busy 4-day business trip. We attended both CES in Las Vegas and NRF's Big Show in NYC and boy, was it exhausting!

Quick summary:

  • We acquired many great friends from different companies in consumer electronics and e-commerce/retail.
  • Pretty much everybody whom we spoke to wanted to learn more about our 360 degree product imaging services and solutions.
  • Judging by the increasing number of people attending these shows in 2010, it's clear that the economy is getting back on track.

Lessons learned:

  • Our preparation for the shows was not great to say the least. WebRotate 360's brochure was done overnight, one day before leaving for Las Vegas. Luckily uprinting.com had a one-day service with an option for local pickup and guys there were pretty responsive to our needs. Next time we should plan better.
  • NRF's show was a bit out of our league targeting primarily large brick and mortar businesses. Lots of POS hardware and Oracle/MS types selling their multi-tier e-commerce solutions. It was still pretty interesting to see what is going on in retail, how it's embracing the Internet, various social media aspects, authenticity, and the "green" theme. We really enjoyed the presentation by David Kepron (Retail Rescue: Seeking the Now) and were excited to see vendors like Placii (www.Placii.com) offering their immersive 3D solutions for virtual in-store experience, which at the end makes our efforts at WebRotate 360 increasingly more relevant to a larger audience.
  • Two shows in 4 days across two coasts is a bit of an overkill for our small and very busy team :-)

     

 


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360 Photography Samples - New Gallery

by WebRotate 360 January 02, 2010 20:45

Checkout our new gallery of production samples. It has an assortment of 360 degree product views that we produced for some of our recent customers, like these security cameras:

 

[June 8th, 12 - these samples have been removed as part of our new website deployment. You can find our latest samples here]  

 

These are just random samples - there have been hundreds of 360 product views we've produced for some of the clients on the list. 


Happy Holidays from the WebRotate 360 Team

by WebRotate 360 December 18, 2009 11:11

Happy Holidays from all of us at the WebRotate 360 Team!

In the Spotlight:

  • Are you attending Retail's BIG SHOW in NYC? We will be there. Just e-mail us if you would like to schedule an appointment.
  • We will be rolling out several exciting product imaging services in 2010. Let's stay connected! Follow us on Twitter
  • We are now offering full 3D product view modeling service for large products that can't be sent to our studio or photographed locally.

We're looking forward to hearing from you soon!

 

Sincerely,
WebRotate 360 Team


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How to Improve Your Online Sales With 360 Degree Product Views

by WebRotate 360 November 27, 2009 15:07

Running a website selling physical products?

If you are selling with product images there is a way of dramatically boosting your sales, reducing returns and making your site a bit special - 360 degree product views!


[June 8th, 12 - these samples have been removed as part of our new website deployment. You can find our latest samples here]

 
The whole point of a product image is to show your visitors what the product looks like, right? So if you are proud of your products (and want more sales) here is how to show more than a boring photo...

What You Need (Equipment)

Your camera - a basic point and shoot digital camera might work but realistically you will need a camera with some manual adjustment features.
You will also need a tripod or something similar to hold the camera steady between shots.

Next up is a 360 product photography turntable of some sort. It does not need to glide smoothly on oiled bearings and cost thousands of dollars, simply marking your floor and a round, flat surface that you can rotate to line up with your markings, should work. Note that it is much easier to rotate the product than the camera!

The final thing you will need is some form of a 360 spin software to help stitch your images together into a 360 product viewer based on Adobe Flash or Java technology, or knowledge of JavaScript so you can display them sequentially on your website. Probably the easiest way of doing this would be a "slide show" arrangement, where your images are displayed one after the other. If your setup allows your visitor to move back and forth in the slide show, all the better.

Get Focused

The biggest issue with the 360 degree product photography is poor focus.

Simply focusing on the object may not work well, as typically you will find that when shooting close-ups that only one part of the product is in focus, with anything a bit nearer or further looking soft or mushy.

You can not get away with that for 360 degree photography, so here is what to do:

First, if you can, switch your camera to manual focus, not auto. If you can change lenses, go for a "standard" lens, somewhere between 40mm and 60mm. A wide angle or zoom can distort the perspective, which again you can't get away with when rotating the product, as your product will be stretched and bent as it rotates. The trick to getting your entire product in focus at once, especially smaller products, is changing the size of the aperture.

   

Aperture and Depth of Field

The higher the number, the smaller the aperture and you need to go as small as possible. For example f22 is much smaller than f2.8. Note that depending on the lenses if you go far beyond a certain f number, you will start to see a drop in sharpness of your photos, so you will need to experiment. Look for a setting with "f" in it, or turn the dial to "AP" ("aperture priority").

The downside of a small aperture is you'll need a slow shutter speed, but if your camera is fixed on a tripod that's not a problem. Though you will still need to setup bright lighting. If you can keep the exposure time to less than half a second (0.5) generally you should be ok.

Look for a depth of field preview button on your camera though note that even some expensive cameras don't have this capability. It may be marked DP or DOF - but be aware on some consumer cameras DP stands for Direct Printing! While pressing the DP button, manually focus until the entire product is clear and sharp.

Don't forget your focus must be perfect at every angle - double check!

Lighting

Daylight is your brightest source and it's free, but realistically you will need a setup with at least two light sources. Go for 6500K daylight bulbs and position the lights such that the shades are minimal. You might need some form of light diffuser to prevent bright reflections and hard shadows.

Obviously at WebRotate 360 we use professional studio lighting but you can get similar results by experimenting with the setup of your lights and your camera settings.


    

Your Turntable

Something such as a round foam board or similar will work, perhaps coated or covered with something attractive but non-reflective. Ideally it should be perfectly round, and secured in the exact center, such as with a bolt through it. Mark around it with a marker pen or similar. From there, draw lines directly across the center, extending out beyond the diameter of the turntable onto the floor or whatever surface you are using. Make sure the lines are evenly spaced. You do not need 360 lines, each signifying one degree, in fact you can get good results with just 20 or so. Mark the turntable itself, on the very edge, to match those markings.

Now you just need to rotate the table around one mark at a time, take a snap, and repeat!

Your End Result

Presuming you have done everything correctly, you should end up with a series of 20 or more crystal-sharp images, of a brightly lit yet non-reflective nature, without hard shadows or anything noticeably inconsistent from one shot to the next.

If so, well done! If not, start again - it may take a few attempts but it's worth doing well.

The pay-off is that if it is done well you give your visitor a much more intimate and detailed view. They will see your offering from every angle, leaving no doubt as to their desire to own and possess it. This makes it much easier for them to make a buying decision than what you can ever achieve with a single, static photo!

I told you earlier than this can reduce the number of returned goods. At WebRotate 360 we have found clients of our 360 degree images reported a reduction in return rates of 30% or more. It also reduces your workload, with fewer tire-kicking enquirers.
 

Your Bottom Line

360 degree images do require some careful setting up and experimenting but if done properly the rewards are worth it.

If you would like the end result, without the hassle, contact us at www.webrotate360.com.

As well as professional 360 photography we offer specialized fast-loading 360 degree viewer software for your online product showcase, 3D modeling services, plus we can help you with the website integration or even host your 360 degree views for you!

If you prefer the telephone, call us now on 1 (800) 996-8617.

New 360 Viewer theme released

by WebRotate 360 October 17, 2009 09:52

Here's another free theme that we can use for your 360 product viewer. Existing customers may request it free of charge too. The name of the theme is Grey2.

Just ping us if you want to use it.  

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About this Blog

WebRotate 360 are specialists in interactive e-commerce solutions, web and software development for Internet retailers, product manufacturers, and marketing agencies.

We're a team of great individuals who bring our commitment, passion and skills to help you showcase your products online.


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