Digital Packages to Boost Sales in the New Normal

Sales within the furniture industry are drastically changing. People aren’t only buying differently, but they are looking for companies and brands to step up their sales campaigns to meet the demands of the changing consumer market. Traditional sales methods, such as travelling to meet clients with physical samples or holding product unveilings, are now looking to be a thing of the past. With Covid-19 having a drastic effect on how we sell, brands must now look for alternative methods to keep up their sales rates, or even improve them. 

Many of you will be aware that we have been creating digital imagery for Warwick UK for a while now. Digitising their entire collections. When the pandemic hit, after the initial shock, Warwick were quick to want to adapt to the New Normal. Seeing that their sales reps may be limited to Zoom calls for the near future, they were on the hunt for the best way to keep sales up during social distancing. And who better to ask that a company who deals in digital fabrics.

As we understand Warwick’s brand after working alongside them for so long, we already knew what they were missing to be able to sell fabrics well from a distance.

We already offer Warwick a package for each digital collection. Not only do we provide lifestyle imagery for every colourway in a range, but we also provide an online gallery which can be passed around to clients to see new launches without having to go via the website. This allows for sneak peeks of new launches and universal URL links to be shared internally.

As mentioned in our previous blog post, ‘The Importance of Animation within Interiors & Marketing’, there has been a constant increase in focus towards the importance of incorporating video and animation into marketing and sales strategies. Using animation and video has been proven to drive sales with 60% of people more likely to purchase a product or service after watching a video referring to it. Warwick have been aware of this, but without the budget or skills to film a weekly production, they turned to us.  When all products and romsets are created in CGI, the easy part is setting up cameras in the virtual studio. This includes moving cameras. With Warwick’s collections, we supply an animation that looks like real filmography to show their fabrics in situ for every collection that we build.

Although we are great at fooling people with CGI, the video you see at the top of this post is not fake. Without access to regular sales meetings, we realised that each sales representative needed a full package ready-made for each collection, to be able to sell from a distance without losing any quality in the presentation. Our solution is to go on-site at Warwick HQ to film a fabric expert tell all about each of Warwick’s collections. These clips are then edited together to create professional videos to go along with each collection.

See the final result below.

Talking more about how to streamline the distanced sales process, we realised that each Warwick sales representative was creating their own Powerpoint presentation to showcase each new collection ahead of meetings. Not only does this leave too much room for error when it comes to consistent branding, but it was adding unnecessary workload to those who could be using their time to see clients and sell fabrics. Because of the software packages we use to put together galleries, edit imagery and animation, we had a package that feeds into the same software to create branded presentations for each collection that we digitise. 

This culminates in a well-designed presenter that includes every asset we create for Warwick in one easy to digest place. We are able to present the films about the new fabrics, animations, and full galleries of a collection to send out to all reps, as ready-to-sell packages. What more could you need?

All of these elements can be circulated via sales reps, website and all social media channels. Not only are these elements easily accessible for staff and clients, but they are all digital and safe to share during a time when we can’t meet face to face.

If you are interested in increasing your brand’s online presence, then don’t hesitate to get in touch today! 

 

 

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CGI, The Best Kept Secret of Interior Catalogues

Who doesn’t love looking through furniture catalogues? We certainly do! Within the past few years people have started to notice that many of the images we love to look at in furniture catalogues are actually CGI 3D renders – and not photographs.

To some of us, mainly those who work within the CGI world, this may seem obvious, the cost and timeframe to physically photograph each different product, in each of their fabrics, in multiple room-sets is not realistic nor feasible. Unless you have all the time in the world and an endless pot of money! But for many of the general public who do not work within the furniture world it is not so obvious, unless you’re in the industry you may not realise how much time and effort goes into producing these catalogues, CGI or not, each image’s journey can be a long process. 

Many furniture and fabric manufacturers have delved into the world of CGI within recent years for many reasons, CGI is less time consuming, more cost effective and overall adds value to your individual assets. If you have CGI assets you are able to use them time and time again, if you have individual, transparent PNG versions of your images you have the editorial freedom to edit your imagery to match trends, seasons and client briefs. As well as this, having CGI assets with fabrics means that you essentially have an endless roll of ‘digital fabric’, which you can use again and again, which can be sent over to clients and you can have access to them forever. This means that you have more creative scope with future projects – with photoshoots you end up leaving with a couple of shots but that’s it, if you want to revisit or restyle the fabrics or furniture, you need to do the whole process again. 

Many people don’t realise that catalogue images are CGI because the technology is so good that they look like photographs! If you’re flicking through a catalogue for some inspiration you’re not likely to nitpick the finer details of an image and if you have great CGI (like we produce here at Orbital) then you wouldn’t notice the difference. 

With furniture giant, IKEA, using CGI for over 75% of their catalogue imagery it comes as no surprise that many other brands and companies are following in their footsteps. Especially with recent events surrounding Covid-19, many photography studios and factories are not open. This may seem like a spanner in the works for many fabric and furniture manufacturers, but here at Orbital we are able to work with you to overcome these problems. As we specialise in fabrics and furniture we are heavily familiar with the trade, our process means that we are able to provide you with your 3D assets which can be used time and time again. We are able to photograph and render fabrics for you, giving you more flexibility, and at a much lower cost. 

Many magazines have said that although they often prefer photoshoots to CGI imagery, they have often published CGI imagery without them noticing that it wasn’t a photograph. With the recent advancements in CGI this comes as no surprise to many of us as it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between real and fake. 

Get in touch today if you are looking to take the leap into the world of CGI!

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Opening the Studio for Long Point 2020

“The Long Eaton Guild of Furniture Manufacturers hold a bi-annual trade show which sees the opening of a number of showrooms around the town of Long Eaton. The show is open to all and is known to host over 25 exhibitors showing fine high-end upholstery and manufacturers across the historic town.”

Autumn Long Point 2020, has returned for another fantastic showcase of exhibitors in and around the Long Eaton area. Taking place between the 21st and 23rd September 2020, Long Point encourages the many upholstery manufacturers in the area to come together to enable buyers to visit them in their own spaces to offer inspiration and insight into the furniture capital of the UK.

In an intimate and relaxed setting, we will see manufacturers open their doors once again for this fantastic trade show. The team here at Orbital is no different! We will be opening our studio doors and encourage many of you to come and see what we’re getting up to! 

We have our own exhibition space that is available for all to rent out and use for their own product exhibitions and showcases. We welcome all visitors to The Exchange, it’s in a great location for one, so you are able to check out all of the surrounding exhibitors. Not only that, you can come and have a sneak peak and a nose around our fantastic CGI and design studio to see the magic take place before your very eyes!

The Exchange is a hub for the furniture industry, based in the heart of Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire. Long Eaton itself is the UK’s centre of upholstery and is the home to many long standing and successful furniture manufacturers such as Harrington Mills. Within our own space at Orbital, we have a meeting room available to hire, which has hosted many meetings for Long Eaton Guild and other professionals such as Sofa Workshop. We also have a showroom which is available to all for showcasing new products, holding launches and hosting presentations. Our spaces are incredibly light and welcoming due to The Exchange being a converted mill. 

Our studio is an incredible space and we welcome all who we know and are yet to meet. We invite you all to come and see what incredible work we are currently doing, meet our creative and experienced team and come and have a natter over a coffee. We regularly encourage clients to come to the studio to learn our processes and, when desired, have a first hand say on their future imagery. We hope to see some of your lovely faces soon!

 

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How Sales & Marketing Strategies Are Drastically Changing in 2020

2020 has shown us how popular online shopping is. With the world of furniture and interiors being one of the last to turn to majority selling online it has become apparent just how important it is to have an online presence, and a successful one at that. 

In March 2020 there was a worldwide average of 1.7 billion web traffic views to furniture and home decor websites increasing from 1.5 billion in January 2020. Years ago, many of us would buy a sofa and keep that sofa for 20+ years, with the increase in focus on trends and fast fashion that is no longer the case. Many of us will change our furniture and home interiors every few years to keep up with trends and changes in lifestyles. The way we buy is definitely changing, but so is the way that we are selling products and reaching out to potential clients and customers. 

Within the furniture and fabric industries we have seen the same sales methods used for decades, many still employing sales representatives to travel up and down the country. It’s safe to say that Covid-19 has changed the system we all know so well. With travel restrictions and individuals focusing on their health now more than ever, travelling to showcase your newest products seems near enough impossible. With each retail industry slowly moving online, especially the world of fashion, it has become apparent that those methods used for sales of furniture and home decor are becoming dated. Traditional sales methods are now looking to be a thing of the past, and in a time of uncertainty many companies are looking to get online as fast as possible.

With this sudden surge in interiors wanting to have a better presence online, many companies are now finding that they need to increase their digital strategies. A lot of brands use simple fabric flat shots on their websites, with an image of their product only available to view in one colour. This is because photographing products in each variation of fabric would take so much time and money. The demand by consumers to see products in every available fabric is becoming increasingly important. 

E-commerce home decor businesses such as Wayfair have seen consistent growth since they were first founded. Not only this, but many e-commerce interior retailers have struggled far less during Covid-19 than those who have a lesser online presence. Focusing your attention on your brands online presence has shown many companies two things, they don’t have enough imagery to populate their website and their websites are lacking in ease and interest. Within sales one of the most crucial things is to build consumer trust, especially when selling products that consumers are expecting to last them years. With many companies only working with photography this results in a lackluster website which often doesn’t give potential clients any idea of how a product would look, feel or behave. 

Here at Orbital we are able to solve these issues for you! Online shopping for furniture and for clothing is often seen as the same, customers want to see each product in each possible fabric, at different angles. By just having flat shots on your website you may be increasing your website bounce rate, with customers not being able to visualise how your products would look in their spaces they are less likely to shop with you, and more likely to turn to your competitors who use CGI. We are able to build your furniture in 3D and then upholster your products in every possible fabric combination you could dream of! At a fraction of the price too! We are then able to place these products in photo-realistic room sets at different angles, creating multiple visuals to put across your stunning websites and social media pages. With an experienced and creative team, we are also able to create stunning new websites and update your branding, meaning that you will have the overall package. You will have all of your assets in one place, working with one team, resulting in a cohesive, creative and engaging marketing strategy and branding as individual as you are. We are able to meet your demand, meaning more happy customers for you! 

If you are interested in working with us and increasing your brand’s online presence then get in touch today! Don’t forget to keep up to date with us on our social media to see what exciting work we are releasing!

 

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The Importance of Animation within Interiors & Marketing

Over the last few years the use of video has become increasingly popular within the world of interiors and marketing. Video is proven to drive web traffic and push sales within any business, with over 60% of people more likely to purchase a product or service after watching a video. Video may seem like another creative avenue that you now have to learn and perfect, however, here at Orbital, we can do all of the work for you.

The videos that you often see in marketing campaigns aren’t necessarily made from real footage. CGI technology is developing rapidly and we are now at a stage where we can make photorealistic animations in 3D that look like filmography. All of the imagery on our site, including the animations on this blog post, are all CGI!  

Many of our clients come to us looking for hyper-realistic CGI shots of furniture and fabrics. With these products built in 3D we are able to turn these CGI assets into films. Using our virtual photography expertise, we have stepped into the realm of filmography, and not just your basic shots. We have animated full scenes. Having beautiful stills is no longer necessarily all you need to sell your brand. We can capture your branding in a CGI animation that can’t be done with web design or imagery alone.

Our team is a mixture of experienced designers, photographers and CGI specialists. Combining their creativity and skill sets result in showstopping filmography that costs a fraction of the price, and takes a fraction of the time, compared to its ‘real life’ equivalent. There is no need for location scouts, expensive camera equipment, drone licenses… just Orbital’s Unreal Creatives and our Studio.

If you thought we could only tackle furniture, you’d be wrong! Although we separate ourselves from most other CGI agencies by perfecting our photorealistic textures and fabrics, we are focused on interiors. From kitchens and bathrooms to Georgian townhouses and Scandi inspired living rooms. If it’s virtual, we’ve got it down. Although the grand stylised animation above may not be suitable for every brand, a simple but stunning slow pan of a product at the top of a web page could be the difference between your customers spending more time looking at your products or going elsewhere. 

Animations are a versatile way to encourage more consumer engagement, they can be used on social media channels, websites, sales pitches and presentations, trade shows… the list goes on. 

 

For Warwick Fabrics UK, we are creating animations for each incredible range they produce! These animations will go along with the lifestyle imagery and fabric shots that we already produce for them. Working in this way is a great way to have all of your digital assets in one place as well as having imagery that not only looks fantastic when standing alone, but is cohesive with every aspect of the project.

If you are interested in learning more about animation and video work then don’t be hesitant to contact us! Check out our social media channels to see more animations as we release them.

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Warwick Sundec - The Newest Range for Summer 2020

We’ve had a busy few weeks here in the Orbital studio, we are incredibly excited to reveal some wonderful new imagery for our long standing client, Warwick Fabrics. We are particularly excited about their new Sundec range as we have had a chance to demonstrate our CGI skills by producing imagery in a new and beautiful outdoor setting. 

With the topic of summer on everybody’s mind this year it is no surprise that we had so much fun creating the stunning imagery you see here! Here at Orbital we have produced countless images for Warwick to use all over their website, social media and marketing campaigns. So it is no surprise that we have created another stunning collection of images for them, showing off every aspect of this weatherproof collection. 

The Sundec collection is an exciting one, with the range being one of their newest, we have taken a different approach regarding imagery and the vibe we wanted to go for. We had to match the modern and contemporary feel of the fabrics to the products we rendered them onto. Outdoor furniture has really made an impression within the interiors realm in the past few years. Many consumers are now focusing their attention, and their money, on the newest and most on-trend pieces to give their outdoor spaces a new lease of life. With many of us looking to make the most of summer 2020 by redecorating and redesigning our outdoor spaces, it is no surprise that there has been an increase in attention surrounding outdoor and weatherproof furniture. So we had to do Sundec justice by creating eye catching imagery to bring to life the Sundec collection. 

 

As we have worked with Warwick Fabrics for over a year we have the majority of their fabrics already built in 3D. This means that we are able to create new imagery for Warwick at any time! Having your fabrics as 3D assets means that you essentially have an endless roll of digital fabric. This is perfect for Warwick as they love to constantly revamp their imagery to stay on top of the latest trends and seasons. 3D assets are becoming increasingly important within interiors as you are able to add more value to your business. With a CGI and design team being based in one space we are able to provide you with all the imagery and assets your heart desires! It means the process of producing imagery for your brand is quicker, easier and more cost efficient than using multiple agencies or photographing every product you make. 

If you are interested in seeing more of our fantastic lifestyle imagery then check out some of our previous work for our clients! Keep an eye out on our social media for the animation we have coming out soon for this gorgeous range!

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The Unofficial IKEA Campaign: The Fight Against Single Use Plastics

A group of five students from MADS school of advertising in Moscow have created a campaign containing fake IKEA toys to tackle the ever growing issue of single use plastic. The students created the campaign for furniture giant IKEA, in the hopes to encourage larger companies and brands to step up and be vocal within the fight against single use plastics. The toys, including a sea turtle trapped in the plastic that surrounds a six pack of canned drinks, have been designed by the MADS students to bring attention to the increasing issue surrounding the use and disposal of plastics.

The toys within the campaign resemble several stuffed animals that IKEA already stocks and sells within their ranges. The potential campaign therefore aims to bring awareness, especially to younger generations, to how our use of plastic is affecting the ocean environment. 

Plastics amount to 80% of the dumped rubbish in the ocean, its impact on the ocean, it’s environment and its inhabitants is horrific. In 2016, the global population produced over 320 million tons of plastic – this is imagined to double by 2034 (SAS). 

IKEA already focuses much of their branding and ethics towards sustainability, from the food they serve, the lightbulbs they sell and the materials they use for their products. IKEA even states that as a brand they aim to “contribute to a world without waste and enable people to make more sustainable choices”. It is no surprise the Moscow students felt the furniture icon should encourage more campaigns like this as the brand have already started phasing out single use plastics from their home furnishing range (and within their in house restaurants and cafes). By 2030 IKEA hopes to have all plastic used within the IKEA home furnishing range based on renewable or recycled materials. 

This campaign has taught us no matter who you are, even if you are a student, smart branding and smart marketing can be your big break and attract a lot of attention! These five students were able to take a concept and a brand name and now they have hundreds, if not thousands, of articles written about their campaign, supporting them and encouraging IKEA to go ahead and turn it from an unofficial campaign to an official one! Branding is key! Their idea was simple and informative, making it effective. Due to the huge focus on the environment in recent years it is no surprise that this campaign was a huge hit, even if IKEA didn’t come up with it themselves.

We are loving this creative and informative unofficial campaign. The campaign itself seems to have the right balance between subtle hints and tackling the raging issue surrounding plastic. As well as this, it is such a great way to educate the younger generations on the importance of sustainability, in ways that are easy to understand and not too overwhelming. 

 

 

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"Okay Google: Talk to my Tulip"

Google has done it again, we can now communicate with flowers – especially tulips! Google Assistant within Google Home Hub has announced that you can now communicate and talk to plants. 

As artificial intelligence is just getting better and better, it is not surprising that we can now communicate in ‘Tulipish’. Google Tulip was developed in the Netherlands with the newest and most advanced artificial intelligence. As the country produces about 50% of the world’s flower population (that’s 12.5 billion flowers!), their most famous being the tulip, we are not surprised that the tulip is the focus point of Google’s newest project. 

Google Tulip took around two years of research and training and is now part of Google Home’s interpreter mode. During this research Google looked at how plants communicate with each other via their root systems and then went on to develop communication through humans and plants. 

Tulipish is just the beginning, Google’s project has opened up the ability to communicate across different species, not just different languages. Being able to communicate with nature has the possibility to learn more about our planet and what it needs. This is a great foot (or root) forward in the environmental issues we are facing today.  

We are loving this creative and fun project from Google! Who wouldn’t want to be able to say that they can talk to plants? It seems too good to be true – unfortunately that’s because it is. Google announced Google Tulip was 2019’s April Fools joke! The team went so far to create marketing imagery, including a full video introduction to the project. Google has produced some cracking April Fools jokes over the years, starting in 2000. Google Tulip in 2020 seems to be one of the least far fetched due to how technology has developed over the years! We so wish this project was real, but the crack team at Google isn’t that far ahead of the times in artificial intelligence. We can only hope we get to see something like this soon and we can’t wait to see what Google has up their sleeve for April Fools 2021!

If you’re interested in all things tech and design, check out our social media pages! Especially Instagram! We love reposting and sharing our top picks in the design and tech based world!

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The Dream Team - Linwood Fabric & The Headboard Workshop's Collaboration

Two of our most loved, long standing clients have collaborated on a stunning collection! This collaboration project is something of a dream team, Linwood supplying beautiful fabrics, The Headboard Workshop providing incredible furniture and let’s not forget the cracking team here at Orbital providing the spectacular imagery we see throughout both teams marketing posts and across The Headboard Workshop’s website. 

 

The pair have collaborated to bring to you Linwood’s new Kami printed velvet range on one of The Headboard Workshop’s most popular headboards, the Samson. We are loving how this collaboration turned out, the fabulous printed velvet fabric compliments the immaculate design of the Samson headboard. It is a match made in heaven and it seems like the two were made to be shown off together!

 

As The Headboard Workshop and Linwood Fabric are both beloved clients of ours, creating imagery for this project was an amazing opportunity to showcase what we can do here at Orbital! The beginning stages of a project can be quite a process initially, checking fabric colours and textures can be a bit time consuming for some clients. However, once your assets are built you are able to use them over and over again, also having the option to revisit and change room-sets depending on the season or current trends – meaning your collections can be timeless and enjoyed all year round, for many years. 

However long this process is, here at Orbital we focus solely on the furniture and fabric industries, meaning that there is the possibility to share digital assets – making collaboration launches quick and efficient. Once a fabric has been built in 3D, it is like having a huge roll of unlimited fabric – just in the virtual world. We can literally upholster any product with this ‘virtual fabric’ in seconds. So agreeing to share these assets means that you can have ready-made marketing imagery with bespoke branding in days. There’s not a prototype or photoshoot in sight! It can be as simple as sending us a drawing of your new product and the name of a fabric, and receiving branded lifestyle imagery for your new launch in a matter of days.

 

It is becoming increasingly important for a company to have ready made assets in this day and age, especially with the huge focus on internet marketing in the past few months. Most fabric companies only provide a flatshot of their fabrics, this means that you can’t see the texture, reflection, transparency or scale of the fabric. With so many fabric houses around the world, it is impossible for two suppliers not to stock similar ranges. With competition rife, many companies assume that to beat competition, price is the only bargaining chip. With CGI assets available, instead of driving prices down there is an opportunity to increase the value in your product without compromising on price. Being able to offer ready made CGI fabrics for use in marketing imagery as a standard with any fabric purchase is invaluable. This deal is not only restricted to fabric suppliers, being able to offer CGI furniture assets to retailers is undoubtedly a great way to rise above your competitors and close some great sales! 

 

In 2020, most large retailers will only stock products that have been built in 3D to fit with the custom builders and functionality of their websites. If you want to have your products featured on these big retailer sites they will ask you to either provide your products in CGI or they will use their own team to build it for you, racking up a major bill at the end of the project. Therefore, most manufacturers are starting to turn to CGI too. It is definitely the way forward for the interiors, fabric and furniture realm. 

 

If a fabric company already has their fabric ranges built in CGI, ready for a manufacturer to use in their lifestyle imagery, it makes them an undeniable choice of supplier. It puts them ahead of their competitors, making it more cost effective and efficient for all parties involved. 

 

Here at Orbital, we are here to do exactly this, make projects and collaborations feel real with our lifestyle imagery and our abilities to bring ideas and inspirations to life! We were able to produce the incredible imagery you see before you as we are already familiar with both Linwood Fabric and The Headboard Workshop. We are loving the results of this collaboration project and we cannot wait to host another collaborative launch with future clients!

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5 New Ranges for Warwick Fabrics

We’ve had a busy few months over here at the Studio. Although we’ve kept you updated on a small handful of projects, we’ve kept a few up our sleeve. But with the passing of the infamous Decorex this week, one client in particular has had a big launch, which included distributing a number of our ‘unreal’ images. If you follow our social media accounts, you may already have an inkling which client we are talking about, because we have been releasing ‘Sneak Peeks’ (we are also well aware that the suspense building here is rendered null and void because we assume you have all read the title of this post…)

 

Since winning Warwick as a client, we have built five of their fabric ranges in 3D, with room sets and detail shots to complement each range. We’ll update you more on this when Warwick Fabrics UK launch their new website next year. You can bet that our imagery will be all over it! But this week, Warwick released their brand-new brochures for the launch of two new feature ranges; Heritage and Sequoia. And guess who designed, populated and printed them? Us. It’s us, in case you needed a prompt there…

 

It makes a lot of sense to get all of your marketing assets in one place. as we were already creating photorealistic CGI room sets and digital fabrics for Warwick, why not take advantage of our design team too? This way, there is no agency waiting on imagery from somewhere else, it is all dealt with in one place. A one-stop-shop if you will. While you’re at it, why not get the web team involved too?

But let’s focus on the brochures. We all know that preparation for a launch at a big trade show can be a headache at the least. Photoshoots to get right, brochure designs and printers to deal with. Warwick let go of that hassle. They just sent us a sample of every fabric in their new ranges, emailed some inspiration images, and sat back, waiting for the imagery to flood in. Next thing you know, images signed off, brand-new, on-brand brochures were delivered to their office in time for Decorex.

 

If you want a piece of the action, and to lose the stress of location shoots, outsourcing design, print and web development, get in touch. January furniture Show is just around the corner now…

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