Does this sound familiar? You have been working from home for a while now. But, recently you have noticed that your home is no longer a comfortable place to be at. So what do you do?
You go online shopping. You are looking for ideas on how to make your home more attractive and better furnished. You want to create a space that radiates comfort. You then stumble upon an interior design or furniture website. The hunt for comfort is over!
In the interior design and furniture industry, this shift takes away the key aspect of buying – touching and trying out things. But how can brands bounce back from this awful scenario?
The End Of Physical Showrooms
While stuck at home people end up noticing small details about their homes. The coffee table starts looking a bit odd. While a sofa bed colour no longer matches the bookshelf in the corner of the room. People decide they need to renovate their homes or buy new objects. They externalise their need to escape a monotony through decorating. In other words, people are looking for a change of scenery.
But, if walking through interior design showrooms are no longer possible… How do you escape?
The answer is through immersion. Immersion is an essential element of the interior design and furniture industry. It not only transports the user into a new reality but also offers an opportunity for brands to develop their storytelling. Turning immersion into the brand’s strength is one of the preferred strategies of brands to utilise the shift to digital. And this immersion can be achieved through the creation of virtual showrooms. But what are virtual showrooms?
Virtual Showrooms To The Rescue
Virtual showrooms are the solutions to overcome logistical, geographical and temporal restrictions. Born from the meeting of physical and digital worlds. Virtual showrooms are virtualisations of the shops. They are created from a 360° video capture of the place or from an entire 3D model.
For example, BoConcept, Denmark-based luxury furniture retailer, offers its shop in a 360° virtual showroom accessible via their website. Their showroom is not only very visual and realistic, it is also filled with smart features. l All their products are marked with yellow dots to allow access to product sheets. It is also possible to personalise the products and to contact the shop’s team and interior designers at any time. BoConcept have successfully translated the in-store experience to digital and continues their business!
As for Light & Shadows, their teams wanted to take immersion to another level. Specialising in 3D and immersive technologies, Light & Shadows modelled the showroom and flagship products of Fabrice Ausset, a French designer, entirely in 3D. The virtual showroom was accessible in virtual reality (VR) and a custom app. This allowed to further strengthen the brand’s imprint in users’ minds and reinforce their attachment to the brand. The photo-realistic rendering and the observations of the product from all angles were created in a way that enables customers to view the product as if they were seeing it in real life.
Beyond the fun aspect of the tool, the virtual showroom is a great sales support. It offers a different but intuitive navigation path with similar functionalities as a classic website!
AR Interior Design Tools
Picture this: you visited a virtual showroom and finally found your dream sofa bed. You have taken the measurements of furniture and space available. You have also considered the colour of the sofa bed. But the questions keep lingering:
‘Will the sofa bed actually fit with the rest of the living room?’
‘Is there enough space? Maybe I have taken measurements wrong?’
‘Will the colour match the mood of the room?’
To clear up these customers’ concerns, interior designers must explore another form of immersion. This is where augmented reality (AR) interior design tools come into play.
These tools, whether as mobile applications or natively on a browser window, are now becoming a significant part of the interior design market. AR tools can transform consumers’ digital experiences and convert leads into buyers. They also reassure customers of their choices and help to prevent unnecessary returns. With the help of AR interior design applications, consumers can instantly and virtually project the furniture into their home space in almost near real conditions. This allows us to check if the measurements actually fit their space, or if the colours match the environment.
Today, this kind of technology is high in demand.The study by Centric Digital shows that furniture is the first product that consumers want to buy with augmented reality (60%). Plus, in the midst of a restrictive era, customers are able to try out the furniture without having to go to the shop. How convenient!
While Ikea was one of the first adopters of immersion with its Ikea Place application, other brands have now followed suit.
For example, INSPI, a company specialising in 3D technologies, created a 3D and AR configurator for Stressless. A configurator is available on the Google Play Store and App Store. The tool allows users to configure sofas with a few clicks and then visualise them in AR within the environment. The fluidity and the visualization of the furniture from all angles in AR doesn’t break end user experience and also helps the conversion of the purchase.
Want to read more about Light & Shadows work? Click here to dive into the world of 3D car configurators.