Klein Tools has embraced 360-degree photography, and our e-commerce experience is better for it.
The company’s investment in improving the digital images of our products helps us compete with Amazon at a time when the retailer has enjoyed tremendous growth in the home improvement category (25% growth in 2017 alone).
Klein’s brand story dates back to 1857, but we’ve always been willing to invest in innovative marketing technology. Our current formula for success includes a mobile-first marketing and content strategy, a strong micro-influencer campaign, and a digital photography partnership that’s led to a 10-16% percent lift in sales through the websites of our distributors. Here’s how we got there.
We made the digital shift early (and fully). We used to mail customers a 300-page catalog. Today, our catalog is an interactive PDF that’s available online. We also optimize all of our images for mobile, which means including 360-degree spins. This ensures that electricians in the field searching on a mobile screen can get a clear sense of what we offer and whether it meets their needs.
We heard about the impact of 360-degree photography on e-commerce sales from some folks at Grainger and The Home Depot. They also recommended a solution partner, Snap36, which helped us create and upload 360-degree images for hundreds of products simultaneously, then supported us in creating processes to ensure their smooth delivery. Today, we follow creation and distribution standards to make sure our images provide what customers want and get to our partners as quickly as possible.
Initial results have been promising: Paid listings on HomeDepot.com that include a 360-degree spin produce return rates 18% lower compared to those with static images.
B2B Strategy: Customers First
We sell hand tools, quality products that tradespeople will hold every day for the next five or 10 years. Our customers want to see each tool from every angle. They want to know how it connects to a battery charger or power cord. That’s not something you can provide with two or three static images.
Enter 360-degree images. Our salespeople now use iPads to show customers the information they want. The digital format both boosts customer confidence and accelerates the sales cycle. Where customers used to browse brochures and request sample tools, they now see every aspect of a tool instantly.
In many cases, 360-degree images replace early-stage sales conversations so that sales professionals can get to the issues that matter most to customers faster.
B2C Strategy: Micro-influencers and Strong Reviews
Our consumer base is undergoing a generational shift, so we updated our B2C strategy to meet younger shoppers where they are. While the average electrical engineer is still 55 years old, Millennial tradespeople entering the field are looking for a different experience. They want reviews from people within their peer group.
Today, we have about 100 micro-influencers who help connect us to their local communities and promote our products on their personal social media. Our “Klein Crusaders” are trusted, respected tradespeople who help expand awareness of our products through social media and on the jobsite — their point of use.
Our brand supports the industry and propels it forward. We take pride in being a brand with a purpose: We support the industry and recognize electricians. We see the new generations entering the trade, and we know we must adapt our marketing strategy to get them the information they need. Adopting 360-degree photography has been a winning strategy for everyone, making information more readily available for the tradespeople who need it to do their jobs.
About the Author
Taniel Khamo is the online marketing manager at Klein Tools. Under his guidance, the company has outpaced its industry peers in providing high-quality digital content and marketing initiatives that help drive online sales. Prior to joining Klein, Khamo spent 12 years on the distribution side of the business in various roles at W.W. Grainger.