Cult3D Spikes CD Sales by 75%, the online arm of music retailer HMV Canada, has seen Web sales jump 75 percent since May 1 on music titles that use Cult3D technology.

Cult3D, made by Cycore, Toronto, allows online retailers to turn product photographs into three-dimensional interactive images that permit viewers to see more of an item than they would with a static image. The images spin in place on computer screens. visitors can open compact discs on their screens, see graphics and photographs that are part of the insert art, view liner notes and listen to samples.

Featured at the Web site's Exposed channel, the technology allows bands and record labels to incorporate promotional pictures, discographies and other content where their music downloads are featured.

Dan Winkley, Internet content manager at HMV, Etobicoke, Ontario, which has 97 retail locations, said a sudden rise in the popularity of certain artists aided the sales performance of Cult3D-supported titles. Sales of some titles increased by more than 90 percent. He said the company projects that it has experienced a return on investment of 25 percent to 50 percent for the CDs.

Winkley added that time spent per visitor has climbed more than 50 percent since HMV implemented the technology at the start of last month.

“There's a definite correlation between the stickiness and the increase in sales that we've seen,” he said. “It's as close as you can get to delivering the tangibility of a store experience. And it's actually better for us. In store, customers cannot take the wrapping off the CD and see what's inside.”

Web viewers are required to download the technology onto their hard drives, a process that generally takes at least 2 minutes for 58K modem users.

While Toyota, Disney and Nokia have used Cult3D since its debut in 1999, Cycore recently provided the ability to embed the technology in e-mail campaigns. Recipients can click through an ad to view three-dimensional images of products.

The technology also allows users to send video, audio, spreadsheets, online presentations and word-processing files.

“You can create an in-store experience with an actual voice the user will hear,” said Ted Iannuzzi, CEO of Cycore.

He said video productions with actors playing in-store salespeople “are something we also expect to see happening more with our clients.”

Pricing depends on the number of unique visitors a site generates. Iannuzzi said companies can expect to pay $1,000 to $15,000 for a yearly Cult3D license.

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