Shotfarm’s Product Image Exchange Shortens Image Transfer Process by 85%, Saving Time to Market for Manufacturer PrAna and Its Retailers
Shotfarm’s newest case study with activewear manufacturer prAna reveals the significant savings and shortened time to market generated for both suppliers and their resellers through the use of shotfarm’s free Product Image Exchange to distribute and collect product images.
Business: Manufacturer of activewear including yoga and climbing apparel sold by retailers across the United States and in twenty other countries including Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Russia, South Korea and much of Western Europe.
Problem: PrAna receives a multitude of asset requests from retailers and dealers annually. Twice a year during their key Spring and Fall seasons, prAna must separately provide 1700 images across 750 unique SKUs to retailers from their proprietary Content Management System. They must also manage constantly rolling image requests as new products arrive and new retail partnerships are formed. Keeping their files up to date and enabling resellers to access them quickly posed a challenge due to the limitations of their in-house technology, resulting in significantly delayed time to market.
Solution: Though typically a marketing function, managing this image distribution process fell to prAna’s Lead Software Engineer, Patrick Duffy, because of its tie to the prAna Content Management System. In his existing CMS, groups of images were stored and accessed as collected zip files. Every time an individual image was changed or added to a collection, it required recreating and uploading a completely new file, a process that could take several hours and had to be repeated frequently to keep the library current. But one of the biggest issues, he says, was the lack of a batch download for his resellers, forcing them to download large zip files without knowledge of the contents in order to manually search through to find the specific images they needed. “They could download a zip of everything or single images,” Duffy says. “There was no way to build a download selection.”
When Duffy heard about shotfarm in Spring 2011 from prAna dealers who were already experiencing success with the Product Image Exchange, he immediately recognized an opportunity to improve his process. He understood that by streamlining the download of approximately 3.4MM image files each year and increasing efficiency for his resellers, their time to market would decrease and his products would reach consumers more quickly. Shotfarm’s data ingestion team imported his current season’s assets into the prAna account and his image library was up and running the same day. Now Duffy boasts that he can upload an entire new season of images himself using shotfarm’s Manifest Uploader, which can process and upload thousands of images at a time, in less than 30 minutes compared with several days’ work uploading the same files to his CMS. When changes are made to products or images, they can be edited or added in real time, without disrupting any of the other existing files. PrAna is also able to use shotfarm’s standard metadata fields to pass along product information to their resellers, a feature not included in their legacy system.
PrAna has already granted permission to 45 resellers and Duffy expects the rest to join as soon as next season’s image catalog becomes available. His partners have responded with positive feedback on the ease of access and organization structure provided by shotfarm, and particularly the ability to preview individual thumbnails and create subsets of images that can be downloaded with a single click. “But what I consider even more important,” Duffy says, “is the lack of negative feedback. With our old system, reps and dealers were constantly asking for assistance finding things. That has completely stopped, which is amazing.” And by using shotfarm to centralize the location of their images with those of other manufacturers, prAna helps create an approximately 85-percent time-savings for its resellers compared to manual image gathering processes.
By fully utilizing the free Product Image Exchange, prAna is able to improve overall productivity not only for its resellers, but also for its internal team members. Shotfarm’s self-serve model allows resellers to gather images when and how they need them, nearly eliminating the number of requests that prAna employees must respond to and thereby generating substantial cost savings across the IT, Marketing and Sales departments. Currently 22 prAna employees (nearly a quarter of the company) have created shotfarm accounts and are able to invite resellers and grant them access to prAna’s image library. By fostering this collaborative image management effort across multiple departments—particularly marketing and sales—Duffy has not only ensured that the prAna image library is always up to date, but has also eliminated the chain of people previously required to fulfill the few remaining requests they do still receive. He notes, “I love how it empowers people in our company as well as our dealers to manage images and requests.”
Shotfarm, LLC, is a privately-held Chicago-based company offering a free Product Image Exchange platform for the retail marketing industry. For retailers, shotfarm offers a single place to search for and download product images and information. For manufacturers, shotfarm provides a centralized location from which to distribute product images and information to all retail partners. One system, one password, one workflow—100% Free. Visit http://www.shotfarm.com for more information.