Show Us Your True Online Colors
Customers will expect to see perfect color online by the year 2002, according to analysts at Forrester Research. Catalogers who are finally feeling comfortable with computer-to-plate and digital proofs now are facing the daunting task of achieving color perfection on their Web pages.
Today’s online shoppers are demanding more from their online shopping experience, including color accuracy. A study from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Media Metrix shows that 83 percent of online shoppers distrust the colors on their monitors. Yet 80 percent of respondents said accurate color was “very important” when buying clothing, cosmetics, home furnishings and art online.
More importantly, 50 percent of online shoppers wouldn’t buy again from a merchant who delivered an item in a color that was different from what they expected, according to the survey results.
Indeed, the value of a happy customer, if not the cost of returns, is reason enough to provide accurate color online.
For years, catalogers have painstakingly labored to represent products as accurately as technology and the printing press allowed. The task of bringing the same level of perfection to their Web sites presents a formidable challenge to many.
The most critical variable for an online image’s color is the shopper’s computer monitor. Indeed, monitor displays vary not only from model to model, but also from unit to unit. A monitor’s age, display settings and other variables can affect image quality.
And then there’s the operating system. Macs have a significantly brighter display than PCs running on Windows operating systems, and 95 percent of online shoppers view catalogers’ products on a PC running Windows. If you’ve visited a Web site that seems dark, assume an operator—unaware of the difference—created it on a Mac.
1. Capture images digitally—and specifically for non-print use. The days of re-purposing print images for other media are ending. As the Internet continues to mature, Web images will present unique opportunities, such as virtual reality, 3D renderings, multi-color options and detail zooming. Good digital captures provide more color information than analog photos. Start with as much color information as possible.