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Creating an immersive world T


Soaks Bathrooms, our Bathroom Retailer of the Year award winner for 2019, uses Virtual Worlds’ 4D system to give customers a chance to walk around and interact with a design. Director Wayne Lyons explains


he 4D experience we can offer sets us apart from the competition. It is a totally different experience from the


standard design presentation and it enables the customer to really feel like they’re in their new room.


Our average customer finds it difficult to visualise how the different available options will look in their finished room and fear of making a mistake can mean that the project stalls. The 4D software allows to


them look at


options in place so we can get over this hurdle.


The ease of use and number of manufacturers on the system mean we can create stunning designs to really ‘wow’ our customers, without sacrificing productivity.


Nathan Maclean, managing director of Virtual Worlds, comments on how VR and 4D design can help clinch a sale


W


hen a consumer walks into a kitchen or


bathroom showroom, they


want to be able to relate to them and imagine them in their own home. This is something that is not easy to do with static displays alone, no matter how much you dress them up to make them look realistic. This is where the latest 4D technology really


comes into its own, engaging consumers on a new level and enabling them to fully immerse themselves in the design process. Retailers who have already come on board are reporting


Anything they don’t like is highlighted and can be corrected immediately


conversion rates increasing by as much as 50% and order values increasing by around 20%. At the click of a button, the designer can say to a consumer, “imagine if you just invested another £3k, this is what you can have”, and the consumer can then see how the upgraded room will look. Then, if the designer switches back to the original design after the consumer has ‘experienced’ the changes, this can be very persuasive in not only up-selling, but also clinching the deal. The key to success lies in creating a sense of


drama and excitement. We encourage our retailers to deliver a performance.


‘It’s all about breaking down barriers’


Kitchen Culture in Cambridgeshire has two main streams of experiential retailing: VR and events. MD Simon Nairn explains how these are designed to give customers an insight to both the company and their own projects


Q & A


Q: Do you think VR [virtual reality] helps with the design process? A: A lot of the kitchens we do are extensions, so for us the visualisation is important. It is hard enough for a customer to visualise what it will look like – especially when you are working with a big space. Actually placing people in the room using the VR goggles gives people a true sense of the space.


Q: Why did you choose VR? A: I was aware of it, but I didn’t think that we would go down that road. Design


36


packages are really good these


days, but the more


we looked at it and spoke about VR to our customers, we all thought that it would be a benefit for us. Crown Imperial, which we retail, was able to provide the tools and the resources for us with some VR goggles.


VR is not for everyone, some people are reluctant. But others are more open to it – possibly because it is a more visual experience. However, it is a way to make sure we get honest feedback, as I can see their expression when they are walking though the design.


Q: How important are experiential showrooms


and how can retailers use these tools to bring customers in-store? A: I think it is really important. We try to do as much of this as we can, but in reality we can’t give them their kitchen until it is in their house. All we can do is give them the right information and demonstrate things as best we can.


When it comes to the events, it is nice to say thank-you to past customers and we can also invite potential customers. Events are also great for demonstrating products and showing the practical solutions in appliances and cabinets.


Q: How do you make sure that the experiences convert into sales? A: VR gives people clarity on what they are getting and the comfort that they are making the right decisions, which helps people have the confidence to place an order. It means that there is no doubt in their minds.


It also takes any ambiguity out of the design and that means there are no surprises for the customer. For me, it is


all about breaking down barriers, stopping objections and making the design process slicker.


Q: What advice would you give to showroom owners who want to do either events or VR? A: When it is events, make


VR is a way to get honest feedback, as I can see their expression when they are walking though the design


sure that you have a support team there, so that you can concentrate on your customers rather than having to run around making cups of coffee. From the VR side, it takes time to get it right. Spend the time before the customers are in-store to figure out how best to use it. Also, VR is not for everyone, so find out if it is for them before prepping anything.


From our point of view, this speeds up the sales process, as we don’t need to go through a long inventory of details – we can just show the customer. It also helps us in terms of increased order values, because anything they don’t like is highlighted and can be corrected immediately. 4D also allows us to suggest higher-value items and demonstrate the difference the increased investment will make to the finished design. Virtual reality


is something that can only be different


experienced in-store and so it offers us something different from the multiples and online retailers.





kbbreview · June 2019


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