3 Reasons Why Product Photography is a Thing of The Past

Photoshoots may seem a necessary spend for furniture manufacturers and retailers, but they are quickly becoming a thing of the past. And here are three reasons why.

Faster turnaround on the creation of marketing materials

  • If are on a tight deadline and need beautiful images fast, you may not have the time and resources to curate an impressive catalogue of images for your new range or product, which is the main component to furniture marketing and sales.

 

  • The process behind furniture photography is a lengthy one. A prototype is the first thing that needs to be made and transported to a set. The photoshoot itself and manpower needed is costly and time consuming, and then comes post-production. And if you need any alterations? You’ll likely need to reshoot the whole thing.

 

  • There are plenty of organisational issues involved with a photo shoot, creating plenty of room for errors. Delayed shipments, below par photographers, and a poor studio are all potential issues you can run into.

 

  • When it comes to creating that same photograph as a 3D render, the process is streamlined in every way. The only two things you need to consider are writing up the details of the project and the final approval stage.

 

  • No photoshoots or shipping involved.

Costs involved in furniture photography skyrocket compared to 3D rendering

  • Furniture photography can be costly, and there isn’t much of a way to get around that. If you’re looking to be as cost-effective as possible, getting a 3D render is usually the better choice.

 

  • With photography, the expenses pile up and eat away at your budget in no time at all.

 

  • Accounting for the cost of shipping a selection of traditional prototypes, you can also count on paying rent for a space to shoot your photos, as well as the cost of photographers and post-production. Even for a single photo shoot, your bill could be hefty. With any reshoots doubling or tripling that initial cost.

 

  • Now, if you’re rendering your product, most of these fees are eliminated. The only thing you have to pay for when it comes to a 3D render is the designer. Everything is created digitally, from the lighting and décor to the set and furniture itself.

Ability to make design changes on the fly

  • With a photograph, there’s a limit to the changes you can make after the fact. Post-production can touch up a photo, making the colour pop and changing the lighting. But no major alterations can be made to a still image.

 

  • If you need a substantial change, you’ll have to reshoot. This can be expensive and push your timeline back significantly.

 

  • With a 3D model, you can make all the changes you want without any extra time or money. Need to change the lightning? No problem. Wish there were a few more flowers in the background? That can be arranged (pun intended).

 

  • And if your product changes, or if you have a selection of fabrics available, all of that can be created and corrected in a 3D model in no time at all.

 

  • Your products can also be altered before they are even created. Manufacturing your prototype traditionally can be expensive. Accounting for colour options and variations, you’ll have to create multiple prototypes. Not to mention any changes you decide on means a whole new prototype needs to be manufactured. With 3D rendering, a product can be created from a mere sketch, and can be altered or redesigned in days. Along with this, if you are creating a whole new range but only have a design for one of your products in the range, leave it down to the graphic designers to create 3D prototypes of the remaining products in the range. From a sketch of a 3-seater sofa, you can have a render of a loveseat, an armchair and an ottoman to match in no time at all.

3D rendering makes sense for companies of all sizes, and let me tell you why. While photorealistic 3D rendering may sound like something out of reach for small companies, it doesn’t have to be. Regardless of how many products you have – even if it’s just one – you could benefit from a 3D render. When your design is going through changes, having a 3D render will allow you to easily manipulate the design, making changes on-the-go. This is important because it’ll allow buyers and designers to visualise the end-product. You can enjoy quick turnarounds for your marketing campaigns, without the extra time having to be put aside, once your prototype is made in 3D, your product launch can begin straight away, for sales to come rolling in.

 

If you need a helping hand or some advice when it comes to making the transition to 3D rendering, get in touch with us today. We are the experts.


Why is 5G about to revolutionise the furniture industry, and what your business can do to prepare

We are about to enter a technological revolution with the introduction of 5G, but what does this mean for retail and the furniture industry, and how can your business prepare?

The introduction of 5G becoming available as standard in 2020 means there will be a huge shift in what is available, and the speed and power of internet compared to what we understand as normal with 4G. There have been announcements that full length feature films will be downloadable in just 10 seconds with the power of 5G, and we will notice that anything online will be instantaneous, with no lag, no buffering and is claimed to be four times faster than 4G connections. But we should be looking at the wider picture. Yes, it will make browsing and streaming video, or gameplay quicker, but the spectrum of opportunity provided for retail is still untapped with what will become available with 5G for companies who are planning ahead.

 

Imagine that your company’s app will allow a consumer to walk into a shop and be guided in real time, by augmented reality, to the exact location of their desired item. How about they walk through a virtual store to make purchases? 5G will even allow AI (Artificial Intelligence) to run smoothly, allowing for your app or website to create a personal assistant to suggest products and fabrics to the visitor based on their recent searches or preferences instantaneously. The introduction of 5G means these virtual and augmented experiences can take place on a simple handset, and at scale, something that is hard to achieve on today’s 4G networks. The first step towards daunting ideas like VR and AR is 3D rendering. Online furniture shops that don’t have the option for consumers to see a 360 view of a product, and see the piece covered in their fabric of choice, are already being left behind by the bigger players.

 

Artificial intelligence tools, such as chatbots or virtual personal assistants are already being used by innovative retailers to improve their customer service. H&M’s Kik chatbot, for example, makes apparel suggestions based on the consumer’s preferences. Shoppers are presented with images of various different outfits, including questions about their style type for to suggest items which can be purchased or saved for later. When it comes to the furniture industry, we already know that furniture is already seen as the biggest risk item when buying online. If you haven’t already, have a read of why Virtual Reality will soon be the only way to buy furniture online . The way this technology will be supported on scale, is through 5G and we are about to see a massive shift in online furniture sales technology.

 

History has proved that businesses who take that first leap into tech-forward advances tend to reap the most rewards. Not only does it put you at the forefront of digital movements, but the publicity surrounding the introduction of new retail processes is priceless. People were recently stunned by Swedish furniture giant, IKEA, as they have moved ahead of the crowd already, launching an online virtual reality store in Australia. They are now allowing users to browse through a wider variety of furnishing products at home either through their smartphone (mobile VR headset) or desktop, mimicking the instore experience. This is the future of furniture sales, and the not so distant future at that.

 

If you want to learn more about how to maximise the impact 5G can have on your sales by digitally preparing your website, apps and strategy, get in touch with us at Orbital today.


Why Virtual Reality Will Soon Be the Only Way to Buy Furniture

Thanks to new technologies like augmented reality, 3D rendering and virtual reality, the furniture industry is finally ready to have its online moment. These are the latest tools designers and retailers are using to give clients a clearer vision of projects and purchases before they commit.

As we see the retail industry move away from brick and mortar we are seeing online only retailers start growing, in some areas overtaking high street shops. This is particularly surprising in the furniture and homewares sector, but we saw it in 2018 as online mattress companies like “Caspar” and “Emma” were topping mattress sales without a single brick and mortar shop. This really opens up a space for virtual reality as we see a gap in the market for endless opportunities to show products to the consumer without having to see a product in real life.

 

Books and music were the first products to really see success online. Without having to touch or feel the products, there was little standing in the way of a consumer clicking on the Buy Now button. Once user reviews were introduced into the mix, the ecommerce virus started taking hold of electronics too. When it came to clothing, it took a little more brain power. With consumers being used to trying on clothes and feeling the quality of fabrics, online apparel had a slow start. But it was nothing that next day delivery and free returns couldn’t fix.

 

Now, it’s furniture’s time to shine online, but the category requires completely new tactics. While user reviews help customers understand the quality and feel of products, they can’t help a buyer see how the piece actually fits in a room, which is the biggest obstacle we’re seeing when consumers consider the risks of buying online.

 

Furniture buying requires consumers to invest significant amounts of time and money choosing an item they will have to live with for many years. Add this to the thought that homeowners will want to see if a furniture piece fits in their space, and matches the current arrangements and products they already have in their home, virtual reality can really kick in.

We are seeing AR and VR crop up in certain home décor apps, even if it is still early and some are stilted. Take Dulux for example, although not perfect, their app allows you to take a photo of your room and place their paint colours on any wall, so you can preview the finished look without spending any time or money. Now imagine the success if this was available to interior designers and general homeowners in the realm of furniture. Superimposing that sofa you’ve been lusting after, into your current living room space – to scale – and in your chosen fabric. It’s important to envision the whole room, including pieces you own and pieces you’re considering purchasing. We don’t think that this new retail revolution is far off. But you know what they say – the early bird catches the worm. It is usually the businesses who nail these new approaches first that get the long-term results.

 

The future can be exciting, if maybe a little daunting. Orbital are working on their own Virtual Reality products to help retailers and manufacturers sell their products – keep your eyes peeled for updates!


Thank You from Orbital

After an incredible year of growth for Orbital in 2018, we kicked off 2019 in style with an incredibly successful January Furniture Show.

On 20thJanuary this year, we were all set up to see how a creative agency would fare in the UK’s biggest furniture show. With over 500 exhibitors and a record number of attendees, there was a real sense of optimism in the air. In a climate where there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding business decisions, the success of the January Furniture Show was a welcome triumph. And we at Orbital were no different.

 

With our whole team upheaved to Birmingham, it was business as usual. What better way to show you what we do, than show you what we do! Our team was busy building furniture in 3d and wrapping them in various fabrics whilst simultaneously creating room-sets to showcase the furniture. They were also demonstrating our product builder which allows users to select a piece of furniture and custom wrap the product, cushions, piping and more, in any number of fabrics and textures.

 

Amongst the thousands of attendees over the four days that followed, we had a huge number of visitors to our stand. Whether we can blame that on the fun we were having with our virtual reality headset, the constant supply of Haribo and coffee, or our designs, we will never know. Either way, we do know it was watching the team at work that secured an impressive number of new and potential clients and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came to say hello. We are lucky enough to now be working on projects for the likes of Graham and Green, Sofa Sofa, Warwick Fabrics and so many more.

 

As well as those of you that we got to meet, and the interest you took in what we can do to grow businesses in the furniture industry, we also got to hear who the long-awaited winners of the Furniture News awards. The lucky five that were awarded for stand out products are in for a free room set build from us. As promised, after the winners were announced on the first day of the show, we started capturing images of the winners’ products before starting the 3D build on our enVision platform to create an invaluable marketing tool for the winning companies.

 

Make sure you keep an eye out for our progress updates and the finished products for the winners Parker Knoll, Sealy UK, Wiemann, Hartman UK and ALF. Maybe we’ll even have a game of spot the difference between the photographs and our renders, just to show what we really mean when we say you can’t tell the difference.

 

Have a sneaky peak at what we could do to grow your business here


Danish Delights at London Design Fair

Danish Delights - London Design Fair 2018

It was great to see the pavilion stand representing a variety of Danish brands at Design Week.

 

Showcasing products from Georg Jensen, Republic of Fritz Hansen, Warm Nordic, Junckers, Tom Rossae, Berhart and BoConcept, there was plenty for the eye to admire.

We loved the simple shaping, unfussy detail, the curved Danish form of low slung upholstery and the modern take of a dining chair that looked inspired, by the Hans J Wegner classic Wishbone.

 

Paper type hanging lanterns, that are reminiscent of paper planes crafted as a kid and authentic wood cubes (multi use, side tables or a footstool), with the detail of the grain. The white origami inspired hanging lanterns, which suggested movement were graceful and elegant, making a great focal statement piece for a room.

 

Lovely to see the classic Danish ‘butterfly’ type dining chair, upholstered for a change! In a gorgeous deep claret.


The Exchange Launch Night

Just over a week ago, we celebrated the opening of our new home in Long Eaton, The Exchange.

 

Stepping into The Exchange, you are immersed into all things furniture. From our digital marketing agency for the furniture industry, to the BFM's new office, right the way to the 300m2 showroom. With The Exchange not just being an office space, it is a perfect hub for the industry.

 

To officially open The Exchange, Maggie Throup MP took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony, in front of fellow members of the Erewash Council and the Long Eaton Chamber of Trade, Directors of some of the longest trading furniture manufacturing companies in the area and of course friends and family.

 

The Exchange is a physical example of the intertwining network of the furniture industry, a place where you can easily spot a friendly face and feel at home.

 

All the team are so proud with the turnout from the night and would like to thank everybody who got stuck in and made the launch a huge success and a night to remember.

 

Thank-you to Linwood, John Sankey, Furmanac, Wood Bros and Futureglass for providing an eclectic mix of their stunning furniture ranges and bespoke accessories that were displayed around the showroom for attendees to admire.

 

As for the future here at Orbital, we really cannot wait to see what lies ahead.


The New Chairman for Heart of England Region

A huge congratulations to our very own Matt O'Flynn who has been appointed the position of new chairman of The Furniture Makers' Company ‘Heart of England’ fundraising region.

 

The Heart of England region will include Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland. The voluntary position will involve Matt organising a couple of events a year in aid of The Furniture Makers’ Company.

 

Matt is planning for the first event to take place this September to coincide with the Long Point Exhibition, organised by the Long Eaton Guild here at The Exchange, home to The British Furniture Manufacturers Association and Orbital Visual Marketing.

 

A few words from Mr O'Flynn himself: “Our new premises at The Exchange in Long Eaton has provided an exciting and dynamic new opportunity for the industry to come together in the heartland of the upholstery trade. Having spent a number of years serving the industry as both chairman of the British Furniture Manufacturers and the Long Eaton Guild, creating a regional base for the Furniture Makers seemed a perfect fit.”

 

For more information,click here

 

Congratulations Matt from all the team here at Orbital!