Inside Track- April 2018

It’s a delight to spread some of our sparkle around, our show-stopper table lamp has been featured on the Inside Track magazine!

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Society Interiors- April 2018

The interiors magazine loves our decor and we hope so do you! Get in touch with the artist within you and enjoy the intricate designs from White Teak’s decor range!

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GRACE UNDER PRESSURE SCULPTURE DECOR
IRON MAN SCULPTURE DECOR
IN THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER SCULPTURE DECOR
DREAM DANCE SCULPTURE DECOR
THE PERFECT GYMNAST SCULPTURE DECOR


Interiors and Decor

Interiors and Decor- April 2018

The aesthetic brilliance of these floor lamps at white teak is captivating, catch them being featured on Interior and Decor Magazine.

 

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THE DARK TRUTH FLOOR LAMP


Ideal Home & Garden

Ideal Home and Garden - April 2018

It’s a delight to spread some of our sparkle around, our show-stopper table lamp has been featured on the Ideal home and garden magazine!

 

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360° Product Demos: Experience Products before you Buy

In my first blog post I touched the topic of 360 product photography. We’re using it to add a new dimension to the online shopping experience. It works by capturing a series of still product images, rotated on one or more axes. This helps create a virtual shopping experience that simulates the in-store shopping experience, giving shoppers a realistic view in a virtual environment.

The challenge is how do we capture this series of still images precisely for each and and every product in a fast and efficient manner and then stitch them into interactive 360 product views.

The tech behind the Virtual Tours:

How does the Virtual Tour work? We have a mechanical turn-table that automatically spins at a calibrated degree (we set it to 10 degrees) and wirelessly sends signals to a camera. Every 10 degrees the camera captures an image, and so we get 36 angles of the product. Brilliant, isn’t it?

Hardware:

Given the size & weight of the lamps, heavy hardware had to be built to withstand the inertia of the product as it rotates. This involves CNC processes like cutting, grinding & machining to develop a product to be precise in its operation - precision being the key to the 360 product photography. Further, we would have to shoot and upload inventory regularly on our website - the hardware would be used continuously for 10 - 14 hours a day, regularly. It would have to withstand this continuous usage without heating up or stalling in any other way. For this reason the electronics used in the CNC machines are used to build the turntable system to have the ruggedness required.

Further, we also built a layer of software to provide synchronization between the rotation of the turntable and triggering of the camera to capture the product images.

The Photography Process:

We did face a few challenges while introducing the 360 spins. First - what kind of background do we go with - plain or textured? How do we showcase Ceiling Lights? What if the product is too large / heavy for the table? How do we capture products that are reflective in nature without capturing reflections of the camera and equipment itself?

We had a catalog of 300+ products to be photographed, and pretty much every product brought with it its own challenge. And this was only the pilot run before actually getting into 360 Spins of our entire catalog - 300+ products of various shapes, sizes, textures & materials. Phew!

1: The Aesthetics:

The first question on our mind was - what kind of background do we use? We wanted a subtle light background, to bring the product really into focus. We decided to go with a light white brick background, that did add a touch of style to the photographs. Though, with this we learnt that the background steals focus from the product itself! We then switched over to a plain grey background, keeping the product entirely in focus itself - and that turned out beautifully! See the difference:

The grey background was a clear winner, and we went ahead to use that for all our product photographs henceforth.

2: All that glitters ain’t camera-friendly:

Next, comes the challenge of the reflective products. Our latest collection focusses on Crystal Table Lamps, Glass Table Lamps, and in general products that are ridiculously hard to photograph. Stuff we take for granted in daily life even! Our photography team informed us that it isn’t possible to shoot a reflective product, as the tendency is to reflect everything in the ugliest of ways and overall just look shabby. They came up with a solution to this - encasing the product in a white tent, so all that can be seen is just the white and nothing else. The camera captures the product through a small peek-hole in the tent. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:

3: The Case of the Ceiling Lights

Remember how I said every product came with its own challenge? It’s not over yet - the most difficult was yet to come. We have a large range of hanging lights & chandeliers on our website - most of them having intricate designs, and some really heavy in weight (around 80-100kgs).

How do we showcase a Virtual Tour of these products? We can’t place them on a table, that doesn’t capture the essence of a hanging light. We can’t shift the camera every 10 degrees, or move the lights manually, again, too much room for error.

A few brainstorming sessions later our photography team (ever the heroes) came up with an astounding solution - one that we didn’t even know was possible - a robotic arm that’s inverted and affixed to a stand - that will do the same job as the turn-table did, only inverted. Sounds futuristic? Thats cuz it is!

The arm rotates continuously, and wirelessly sends signals to the camera that shoots the photo at the click of the rotation. This inverted turntable setup is the first of its kind developed and used in India!

The arm can hold upto 100kgs of weight - here’s a video of our 6-foot wide Chandelier being shot:

Overall, we're super excited to be bringing new technology to e-commerce and are constantly trying new ways to improve the shopping experience.


Our Aim Is To Make Home Decor Online Shopping Possible

Its an exciting time for us at The Whiteteak Company to be working in this technology-centered city of ours - Bangalore. With startups in every corner, business plans being drafted over coffee, apps that do everything - pick up laundry, medical tests at your doorstep - we’ve gotten pretty futuristic!

Niche ecommerce, everyone's doing it. Hand crafted quilts? Personal hygiene products? - everything's available online. It makes sense! You can start selling almost immediately now with a few hours of online work.

The challenge is the experience. I'd read somewhere that people need to feel a product with all their 5 senses before making a buying decision. You want to touch it with your own hand, experience the texture, the material, the build quality etc. You want to get a sense of the size of the product relative to yourself. View it from all angles and make sure there's no defects.

I spent a good few days stalking women at home decor stores, to notice patterns in their browsing and shopping. Window shoppers interested me the most, as these constitute close to 90% of online traffic. I drafted list of what’s important & what isn’t for the shoppers -

What's Important:

1. Seeing a product in its entirety

2. Visualizing it in your own room

3. A feel of the size (height, width, breadth)

4. Price, of course. Although I’m not gonna touch this topic as this blog is about the experience, and not the price point.

Here's what we came up with to answer these questions on our website Whiteteak.com

1. Lifestyle Photographs:

We've ensured that every product of ours has a Lifestyle photo attached to it. A rendering of how the product will look placed in a living room scenario. This helps shoppers gauge the relative size compared to regularly found furniture in your house, eg: a dining table, or sofa set. Here's an example of one of our lifestyle images:

 

Life style photographs
Life style photographs

We've learnt that these photographs help users visualize the product in the context of a real life space, and not just a photo studio with a standard white background.

2. 360 degree Virtual Tours:

While Lifestyle Photography solved the challenge of the context of a product, the next missing piece was the actual feel of the product from all angles. 5-6 photos per product wasn't quite cutting it, so we decided to try a pilot of 360 product photos. Here's an example

These are highly interactive product demos that allow a shopper to preview a product from all its angles. Want to know what the behind of that lamp looks like? Spin it around! Curious of the kind of bulbs used? Zoom in and spin to see it from all angles.

Currently we're the only company in India, and possibly the world, doing 360 Virtual Tours for every product - big or small. We're very excited about this new introduction and believe that it will revolutionize e-commerce shopping in India. What more could you possibly need! Read more about how we did it  here.

3. Perspective Images:

How do you get the exact dimensions of a product? In our perspective photos, we put a man holding the product to give users the respective size of the product. This helps represent the size relative to the height of a man, and gives you a feel of how big a product really is.

Example:

Prespective Images
prespective Images

4. COD or No COD

And since we touched the price bit, let me talk about how we’re disrupting the COD market too. COD is a must-have, specially in Indian market where online transactions aren’t that widespread yet.

Though trust is a two-way street and we need to trust our customer’s just as much (or as little) as they trust us. So we introduced the concept of 15% online pre-payment. We call it Easy-Pay. It makes it easy for us to know the serious enough shoppers, and makes it easy enough for shoppers to still enjoy COD. 15% of an INR 20,000/- item is approx INR 3,000/-, which is expected to be paid online, and the balance can be paid as Cash once the item is delivered.

At the core, White Teak is a Lighting & Home Decor brand. But, we do pride ourselves on using technology to make decisions easier for online shoppers. We’re bringing our A-game, and there’s a lot more to come!