Canon’s successful partnership with StyleShoots
An exclusive interview with Joerg Siemes, Canon
By Veselina Gerova
The partnership between Canon and StyleShoots began some 7 years ago when StyleShoots’ first machine, Horizontal for flat lay photography, was launched. In the years to come, this relationship has developed and evolved. Today, StyleShoots is a market leader with 4 machines for fashion e-commerce photography in its arsenal. Canon has been an integral part to StyleShoots’ success. StyleShoots’ latest machine for footwear, Eclipse, was launched in September.
In this interview, we spoke to Joerg Siemes, Director for Professional Imaging Sales and B2B Business Development at Canon Europe about the partnership between Canon and StyleShoots. He shares his thoughts on how the partnership between the two companies has flourished, how it will continue to develop in the future and what StyleShoots’ place is in the market.
We start off the interview by asking Joerg about his previous experience.
J: Following the rise of the value-added e-commerce proposition, which began over two decades ago, I have had the privilege to develop and implement new businesses, new technologies and new service concepts for Canon.
Having worked both in local markets and on an international scale, I have had the opportunity to experience first-hand what is and isn’t successful in different markets. This insight is invaluable to ensure we are developing solutions that are relevant, whilst taking into account the breadth and depth of audiences, users and buying centres we are serving today, tomorrow and the future.
The learning from my entrepreneurial family background is that curiosity, paired with outcome focus and a long-term partnership-oriented approach, always prevails. This applies to both individuals, as well as entire organisations.
What is your position at Canon?
J: As a Director for Professional Imaging Sales and B2B Business Development at Canon Europe I predominantly deal with two main avenues within the business. The first relates to the sales of high-end digital image capture and output products, such as video cameras, high-end lenses and projectors.
The primary industry for this is the media sector. The second is the acceleration of the adoption of Canon equipment in non-traditional application areas, such as manufacturing & retail (e.g. automated commerce-photo and videography), as well as digital classroom concepts for education, and the automation and optimization of manufacturing and logistic processes.
Why are StyleShoots and Canon a good match, in your opinion?
J: The StyleShoots and Canon partnership is enabling brand marketers and retailers to meet the growing needs of the modern, omnichannel shopper by delivering the highest quality imagery in ultra-fast and very reliable way, thanks to Canon’s comprehensive EOS system offering. For the creative teams charged with delivering this content, this partnership blends the optical quality of Canon with the creative outputs demanded by the retail industry today.
Eclipse’s design and iPad-based click-WB (developed via Canon’s Software Development Kit (SDK)) and Canon’s DSLR camera means that customers can deliver high-quality video and imagery for any platform quickly - meeting modern productivity and efficiency requirements - thanks to Canon’s optical excellence, without compromising on the creative output.
Canon prides itself on a user and application-centric design of products and solutions. Throughout our close collaboration with StyleShoots over the past couple of years, we have experienced the same drive for purpose and commitment to perfection throughout the entire organisation.
For the shoppers themselves, the partnership should ensure the consumption of an incredible, varied and engaging visual experience.
How do you see the Canon - StyleShoots partnership evolving in the future?
J: Commerce continues to evolve as brands, retailers and consumers embrace new ways of browsing and purchasing. However, the central role of the image will continue to be integral and at the heart of the creative output. Images are an essential part of (digital) shopping and high quality has become ‘the norm’.
We’re looking forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with StyleShoots to facilitate the delivery of consistently high-quality images that drive end-user confidence.
For all our business partners we, as Canon, have a lot to offer, whilst maintaining the ever-evolving needs and demands of the industry and customers alike. I do not only speak about our fantastic products and technology, but also about our corporate knowledge - from innovation via production, system consultancy to maintenance, which we have successfully been doing for decades.
Everyone at StyleShoots is very open in sharing their developments and that helps us to optimally support them, as well as our own expansion of the commerce photography business. I’m very much looking forward to continuing this successful path of partnership.
What are your thoughts on Canon cameras being used for innovative machinery, like StyleShoots machines - not only for commercial, photography purposes, but in a B2B context?
J: For both B2B and B2P (Business to Professionals), imagery remains essential to all industries, from media and manufacturing through to retail. For businesses and consumers alike, one incredible image can convey a single message and that presents an interesting challenge with an exciting opportunity.
As a world leader in imaging solutions, Canon’s heritage, technical prowess and optical expertise is perfectly placed to ensure that high-quality video and photography sits at the core of all these industries.
Over recent years, we have seen an abundance of change happening amongst our markets and as such, it’s paramount that we remain flexible, open to opportunity and utilize our technical capabilities to meet the evolving requirements of markets, industries and customers alike.
Knowing the high quality of Canon cameras StyleShoots uses for its machines, what would you say the biggest benefits are for e-commerce brands using our machines in terms of visual quality?
J: Simply put, retail is no longer about stores stocking shelves and waiting for customers to walk through the door. There has been a surge in innovation to simplify and make the shopping experience richer and more convenient for consumers, while at the same time to provide greater opportunities for brands and retailers. Compelling and high-quality imagery is crucial.
According to eMarketer (June 2017), around three-quarters of internet users regularly or always search for visual content prior to making a purchase; only 3% never do, whilst 89 percent of shoppers said appealing product photos can sway their purchasing decision (Criteo, Nov 2017).
We anticipate that the number of channels available to brand marketers today will usher a new era of creativity in sales and marketing. In summary, high quality imagery combined with powerful production to deliver consistent drives a high-quality omnichannel shopping experiences with imagery at the core.
After seeing what Eclipse, equipped with a Canon camera, can do when it comes to visual output, what are your thoughts on the product and the solution it provides for fashion e-commerce brands?
J: Fashion is all in the look. Complete with Canon cameras, StyleShoots machines, including Eclipse, are fully equipped to enable brand and retail photographers deliver the creative outputs they need in achieving exceptional quality via a user-friendly interface that minimizes the need for post-production and editing.
The iPad-based click-WB makes it possible to create truly bespoke content intuitively by offering ease of use, efficiency, compatibility and importantly, high-quality results. From hardware to software a very productive workflow has been established, meeting today’s efficiency requirements in currently labour intense areas of business delivery.
Archiving these profiles for future use saves even more time by enabling workflows to be replicated at the touch of a button.
Creating high-quality visual content is important for many brands and in partnership with Canon, StyleShoots is providing an excellent solution for that.
What would you say to fashion e-commerce photographers that are comparing the solution StyleShoots provides retail brands with the traditional studio setup solution? (assuming in both cases Canon cameras are used)
J: Whether for use in online stores, promotional online video or social media, image quality is everything.
With the immediacy of social media and the fast-paced world of consumer shopping, brands and retailers need to have the flexibility within their creative teams to deliver high quality, impactful and consistent imagery within minutes
However, the good news for modern machinery, as well as for studio photographers, is that based on the requirement to stand out from the competition and to sell successfully via e-commerce, combined with the strong growth of products sold online, both professional photographers and solution providers like StyleShoots will benefit.