Craig Rothwell, business development director at digital design specialist Onfigr suggests retailers are missing a trick by not using high-quality design tools and visualisers in a world where customers use hi-tech solutions in their daily lives.
We can probably all agree that changes in technology have impacted every part of our industry. I believe there is no alternative but to lean into these technological advancements if you are to keep pace with market change and the growing digital expectations of today’s customers.
My main frustration is that our industry is nervous when it comes to changing its approach to design tools and visualisers, meaning there is a disconnect between designers offering the latest innovations and original design concepts using tools, which are seemingly lower quality with greater latency.
Given the KBB industry makes its living from extolling the virtues of qualitative design, why are many showrooms settling for a ‘make do’ standard of visualisers to present their best work?
We live in the age of the upgrade, where consumers change their smartphone every three years, and car every six, and technology is also improving the world of interior design. By introducing a better quality of photorealistic 360° and 3D visualisers throughout your business, your designers can continue to provide innovative ways to showcase and create interior spaces, efficiently manage projects, and be in a much better position to serve each customer before they even step into the showroom.
Since Covid changed the world, connectivity and convenience is everything for a time-pressed, always-on generation. We have seen the rise of digitalisation in our industry, with virtual appointments now standard when speaking with design teams as well as meetings with sales reps and manufacturers. So your choice of design tool shouldn’t take a back seat either.
We all know how important staging and styling your retail space is to create an elevated user experience, so having the support of a virtual design space is a great way to convert an enquiry into a sale.
We have found that by offering end users a similar looking space to their own with the options provided in an easy-to-use layout, they can quickly play with ideas and capture this design for use later. In fact, a forward-thinking retailer might see an online visualiser as a lead generator or sales tool that never sleeps.
Grow your business
A customer who is enjoying seeing their new kitchen or bathroom coming to life on screen in 3D is well on the way to making it a reality with the help of a designer who can suggest further upgrades and special touches to personalise the design. When an initial enquiry becomes an interactive, enjoyable and personal experience, I believe more customers will not only appreciate our industry’s expertise, but also be more likely to give you great testimonials and word-of mouth recommendations to grow your business.
Investing in the right technology will not only benefit the customer but also your team. It shows your people that you believe in the business and are betting on yourself and them for the long-haul. If we want to retain and develop the best talent, we need to ensure they have the best tools for the job for both residential and contract projects.
We know that buying a new kitchen or bathroom is not a spur-of-the-moment decision for homeowners, so I think we have a duty of care to make it as easy and as exciting as possible to guide them through the design process and close the sale with confidence and mutual respect.
People buy with their eyes, so it is a huge challenge to sell a high-quality product if the online design tools you use only create low-quality visuals. In an age of HDTV and immersive experiences, a basic blueprint or 2D plan is not going to reflect either the quality of premium products or the talent of your design team.
Today’s visualisers capture and retain data and sync seamlessly across multiple platforms. Clunky and dated technology reflects badly on retailers and service providers. Our genius as an industry relies on bridging the gaps between design possibilities and practicalities, and using visualisers to explore this interface has the potential to transform our industry, attracting newcomers and career changers alike.
An Aberdeen Group Study reports there is a 20% average increase in revenue for companies that have configurable products online and so harnessing a good quality visualiser will speed up decision-making and in turn accelerate the sales process and positively impact the number of projects you’re commissioned for.