The online shoe retail giant, Zappos, recently updated their coveted iPhone app with interactive 360 views of many of their top-selling items. Here are a few screenshots of the app (to experience one of their 360 product views in action for yourself search for “Sperry Top-Sider Algelfish” within the app).
We think this is very exciting news for the industry and further evidence of the increasingly important role interactive 360 product views are beginning to play in online and mobile shopping. Imagine the amount of analysis and careful A/B testing that a company like Zappos must have conducted before embarking on a major feature like this.
Zappos 360 Product Views Below the Hood
We spent some time evaluating the 360 views in the Zappos app and here is a breakdown:
The 360 views are composed of 48 hi-resolution images (approx. 1k x 1k) captured using a nice camera and professional lights (yet more evidence of the importance of using good lighting). We can’t tell if they are capturing a movie of the object rotating or taking stills at different offsets, although we suspect they are shooting a series of still images.
The 360 views have reasonably smooth motion (they are comprised of ~45 images). The 360 viewer needs more work. It’s not well integrated into the user interface, and there is no zoom function. The download times are large which can interrupt the shopping experience. This is particularly noticeable over a cellular connection. The app appears to cache the 360 views on your device. This could lead to the Zappos app requiring high storage costs over time with no clear way of deleting this cache without deleting and re-installing the app. One of our favorite aspects of the Zappos 360 viewer is the technical jargon that is displayed while a 360 product view is being loaded: “Scanning Product…”, “Generating 3D Model…”, “Calculating Coefficient of Friction…” “Skinning 3D Model…”, “Reticulating Splines…”. We can assure you that there is no “3D model” behind these 360 product views. The Zappos app displays a series of images, similar to the technique employed by Arqspin. We suspect these cleverly worded messages are more likely meant to hide the large amount of time it takes to download ~4MB of images from their servers!
Zappos’ investment in enhancing their successful app with interactive 360 product views is consistent with a clear and growing trend across the industry. We are overall impressed with this initial launch and expect the viewer and user experience to improve in the months ahead.
Here at Arqspin, we remain committed to helping online vendors, both large and small, add high-quality 360 images to their online and mobile storefronts. Please reach out and let us know how we can help you!
Head over to the Apple App Store and check out the 360 product views now in the Zappos app for yourself.