SKOKIE, Ill. — A co-founder of the Peapod Internet grocery has launched a new venture providing retailers with free high-quality product images and information for use in e-commerce applications, circulars and planograms.
The new company, ItemMaster, last month began providing images and product data for all new items to the Peapod.com website and for Ahold’s U.S. retail banners. It is expected to announce a partnership with MyWebGrocer that would provide retail clients of that service with free product images, Thomas Parkinson, ItemMaster’s founder, told SN in an exclusive interview Tuesday. ItemMaster and Peapod are subsidiaries of Ahold.
Typically, Parkinson said, retailers have paid vendors a licensing fee for use of product images. ItemMaster seeks to change the model by shifting the cost to manufacturers. Those providers can upload images to the ItemMaster database for free or for a fee have them photographed and prepared for publication by ItemMaster at its studio here.
Parkinson said he was inspired to create an “open-exchange” of product images and data after encountering inconsistent quality and supply issues, as well as costs, while building Peapod’s e-commerce Web application. He said the service would save Ahold about $500,000 annually.
“Most vendors are charging the retailer, and the manufacturer gets off scot-free,” explained Parkinson. “We are switching the model around, asking manufacturers to pay a reasonable rate for all retailers to be able to use them for free.”