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Hasselblad creates mobile showroom via product catalog app

Swedish camera brand Hasselblad is educating established and potential consumers on the use of its products through a new mobile application.

The Apple iPad app works to “help photographers achieve their photographic potential” through educational touchpoints and product descriptions. Placing the information a consumer would receive from an in-store sales associate onto a mobile platform ensures that when questions arise, Hasselblad will be able to assist regardless of time and location.

“By incorporating elements like sample images and videos on how other professional photographers are using Hasselblad products, they definitely added value beyond simply showcasing a product catalog,” said Melody Adhami, president and chief operating officer of Plastic Mobile, Toronto. “It’s a great way to showcase their collection in lieu of a sales representative, but I think there’s a lot more Hasselblad could have offered it’s mobile audience to drive engagement and retention.

“The fact of the matter is, Hasselblad camera’s are priced in the tens of thousands and typically a purchase decision of that magnitude is done through a number of forums – from online research, forums and branded Web site to an in-store consultation,” she said.

“If there is enough education material and interactive touch points on the app to continue the conversation with prospects, I think Hasselblad has achieved success.”

Ms. Adhami is not affiliated with Hasselblad, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Hasselblad did not respond by press deadline.

Picture perfect
Hasselblad released its app to photography enthusiasts at the photokina imaging fair Sept. 16 in Cologne, Germany. At this years photokina, Hasselblad created various activities to present several cameras and the work behind brand photographers (see story).

To introduce the new app to enthusiasts unable to attend Photokina, Hasselblad posted an image of an iPad to its social media accounts. On Facebook, the post explains that the app gives consumers a “snapshot” of Hasselblad’s latest professional products and is now available for download from the App Store on iTunes.

In a post on the following day, Hasselblad shared the direct link to the Professional Product Catalog app on Twitter and Facebook. To measure response and interaction while at Photokina, which ends Sept. 21, Hasselblad is using the branded hashtag #HasselbladAtPhotokina.

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Hasselblad’s app tweet 

When the app is downloaded, the opening screen shows Hasselblad’s emblem before fading to unveil the table of contents. The table of contents is tap-enabled for easy navigation and the user can also swipe a finger to the right to read content in succession.

The page following the table of contents gives a brief introduction of the brand and its “medium format” photography. Small hand icons show the user how to navigate the catalog app’s pages by either swiping downward to read additional text or sliding an orange tab to the left to enable the share functions of Twitter and Facebook, be directed to Hasselblad’s Web site or back to the table of contents.

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Hasselblad’s catalog app’s introduction page 

In the catalog app’s first section, Hasselblad’s H5D system is explored. Users can learn about the different pieces of equipment used for the photo system and the technology, and view images that use Hasselblad’s tools to enhance photographs while they are taken.

The following section highlights the six cameras found in the H5D series. A tap on specific camera opens a product details page with all the specifications a photographer may need to know and includes an image gallery to show the camera at work.

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Hasselblad’s H5D camera series 

Each H5D camera’s specifications page includes a short video taken by professional photographers to underscore different attributes of the six models. For example, the HD5-50c shows a video of wedding photographer David Stanbury taking the camera for a “test drive” during a bridal shoot in Liverpool.

Weddings with the H5D-50c

Additional categories included on the app are H System Lenses, Hasselblad’s V System Digital Solutions, the brand’s free image processing software Phocus, available for desktop and mobile, and its Flextight scanners.

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Hasselblad’s free Phocus software

Even though users can get a good feel for which camera may be right for them through the information provided, there are no links for ecommerce available at this time. When Hasselblad’s Web site is selected, the user is taken, still within the app, to the brand’s homepage where they must navigate accordingly.

Hasselblad’s Professional Products Catalog app can be downloaded for free here.

In the horology sector, watchmakers often produce catalog apps to act as stand-ins for ecommerce.

For instance, Swiss watchmaker Omega shows off its timepiece portfolio on a mobile application that is similar to a print catalog.

Available for iOS, the Omega app highlights all of the brand’s timepieces. Although purchases cannot be made through the app there is a store locator allowing brands to view all stores or find the nearest location of a Omega boutique or authorized retailer (see story).

The apps also have the opportunity to teach consumers about a specific product before they interact with a brand’s sales associate.

“Mobile catalog apps may have the potential to replace showrooming and physical retail spaces,” Ms. Adhami said. “But, I think for the most part, there will always be shoppers that prefer shopping in-store, those that want to be able to do everything via their mobile devices and others that will jump from one to another.

“Brands that focus on ensuring each channel is optimized based on consumer behaviors and that together, they compliment an omnichannel experience, will see the best results,” she said. 

Final Take
Jen King, lead reporter on Luxury Daily, New York