Enhanced Print, Creative Workflows Boost Apparel Retailer's E-commerce | Retail
RRD’s GO Creative creates custom color database and complex photography cloning to improve customer experience and reduce costs
A leading global clothing retailer with robust e-commerce and catalog sales faced multiple challenges stemming from inadequate internal communications and chaotic workflows. Dissatisfied customers were returning items at a heightened rate, often because shipped products did not match their online or print images.
The discrepancies were so extensive that the retailer had to issue product alerts on their website and via call centers to alert customers that a product may vary in color or construction from its catalog or online photo.
This lack of clarity and consistency with customer-facing imagery became unsustainable, and the retailer sought viable solutions for streamlining and optimizing color representation and product photography.
Additionally, capturing a high volume of unique, on-location product photography had become overwhelmingly cost prohibitive and time-consuming, particularly during travel constraints throughout the pandemic. As a result, they sought a lower-cost, higher-impact process.
Previous work with RRD’s GO Creative team led the company to turn to them again for guidance. After identifying the company’s exact needs, RRD’s creative experts integrated with internal client quality analysts to develop two solutions to address these challenges:
1. Establishing a color reference database (CRD)
RRD successfully established a centralized Color Reference Database (CRD) to ensure consistent color representation for all style/color combinations. The CRD serves multiple practical purposes, including proactive product alerts and accurate digital color depiction in varying viewing environments.
To develop the CRD, RRD’s on-site staff tracked down and photographed actual physical product samples for color verification. This digital reference now accurately represents product colors and eliminates the need to create new references for each product, enhancing operational efficiency. The CRD serves as the central reference for customer-facing product color options and is displayed on the retailer's website as clickable color swatch chips.
2. Implementing complex cloning to expand photography capacity
RRD deployed complex cloning, which leverages pre-existing images to expand photography assets without incurring costs typically associated with a photo shoot. By merging a sourced image with a photograph of a featured product, RRD’s graphic designers now create a new, cloned image by simply changing the colors, patterns, styles, and backgrounds of existing product images. The process eliminates the need for costly travel and model fees while providing consistent quality images for web or print.
3. Establishing a near-site operation
Early in the relationship, Lands' End requested that RRD establish a near-site office, aiming to reduce shipping costs and save time. A dedicated team was formed to utilize the high-speed fiber line for faster image retrieval, eliminating the need for proof shipments. The close proximity allowed for efficient collaboration, with mock-ups and proofs reviewed in hours or minutes instead of days.
Personalized training sessions were also conducted in person, ensuring tailored lessons and identifying specific role-based efficiencies. The relationship between the two entities grew as they connected faces to names, showcasing RRD's diverse and quality services. Despite the shift to remote work during the pandemic, the near-site office remains open for in-person meetings, Epson reviews, mock-ups, and troubleshooting.
RRD GO Creative’s creation of a color reference database, complex cloning deployment, and near-site operation streamlined the retailer’s creative photography process, leading to:
- Reduction in number of product returns stemming from color inaccuracies
- Centralized color consistency via the CRD
- An average of 4,500 references created covering around 16,000 total style/color combinations annually
- Streamlined processes and enhanced customer experience
- Cost savings from a reduction in photoshoots
- Repurposed obsolete product photography for new product images
- Photo asset growth from 12 unique images produced per month to up to 160 per month
- Reduced shipping costs and time savings from near-site operation