Leveraging VR for a Cutting-Edge Online Experience

by Vijayanta Gupta

Posted on 04-16-2018

Last Decem­ber I tried to buy a new sofa. I say tried, because as I write this in April, I am no clos­er to set­tling into my new couch than I was all those months ago. I did tons of research, trawl­ing through sev­er­al web­sites and hun­dreds of prod­ucts to whit­tle down a short­list. After long delib­er­a­tions with my wife we made our deci­sion, and thought we’d found the per­fect couch.

Once the sofa was deliv­ered how­ev­er, it didn’t work. I can’t real­ly put my fin­ger on what was wrong. It just didn’t look right. No mat­ter how I rearranged the room, it was the wrong sofa. So, here I am, with­out a couch, hav­ing lost many hours of my life to a frus­trat­ing hunt­ing expe­di­tion and nowhere near­er to hav­ing com­fort whilst sit­ting in front of the telly.

Most of us have faced this prob­lem to a greater or less­er extent when shop­ping online. No mat­ter how good the prod­uct is, whether it’s fur­ni­ture, a tele­vi­sion or a new kitchen, we nev­er real­ly know if it’s the right one until we see it in our homes. Sure, we could trav­el to phys­i­cal stores to check these things out, but who real­ly has the time to do that? And doesn’t that negate the con­ve­nience that shop­ping online is sup­posed to provide?

Franke shakes things up

That’s why I’m so excit­ed by what Franke is doing. Franke pro­vides prod­ucts for res­i­den­tial kitchens and bath­rooms, pro­fes­sion­al food­ser­vice, cof­fee prepa­ra­tion and wash­rooms. It under­stood the prob­lems inher­ent in tra­di­tion­al online shop­ping and built a cut­ting-edge, 360° dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence that allows cus­tomers to see exact­ly what its prod­ucts look like before they buy. They’ve done this by using one of the hottest tech­nolo­gies around, Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty (VR).

If you want to buy a new kitchen from Franke you no longer need to both­er with online snap­shots or phys­i­cal show­rooms to get a feel for what would work. Instead, down­load Franke’s mobile app, which lets you access a vir­tu­al, 3‑D envi­ron­ment. Not only can you “tour” the kitchen, you can also take pho­tos of the VR envi­ron­ment with your own device to share on social media. You can cus­tomise every last detail—from colours and coun­ter­tops to lay­outs and appliances—to build your per­fect kitchen and see exact­ly what you would be getting.

Watch this video to learn more about the inno­va­tions at Franke:

Franke’s pow­er­ful app was built in part­ner­ship with imple­men­ta­tion ven­dor One-Inside, using Adobe Expe­ri­ence Man­ag­er as the cen­tral con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem. What we’ve achieved togeth­er rep­re­sents the future of retail expe­ri­ences worldwide.

Bring­ing the show­room to your room

From a customer’s point of view, the ben­e­fits of vir­tu­al show­rooms far out­strip phys­i­cal alter­na­tives. We can save time and effort, eas­i­ly view end­less con­fig­u­ra­tions and options, and share your choic­es on social media to get oth­er people’s opinions.

This is a win/win sit­u­a­tion for both sides. Retail­ers adopt­ing such ser­vices not only help build cus­tomer loy­al­ty, but reap ancil­lary cost ben­e­fits. Franke can show­case new prod­ucts imme­di­ate­ly in this vir­tu­al envi­ron­ment and its prod­ucts can trav­el the world in an instant. Vir­tu­al show­rooms offer infi­nite floor space at a cost of absolute­ly noth­ing per square metre. Prod­ucts can be viewed in a vast num­ber of con­fig­u­ra­tions that respond to spe­cif­ic local chal­lenges. This is more than just cus­tomised shopping—it’s glob­al cus­tomised shop­ping at scale.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers adopt­ing this approach will be able to involve the cus­tomer much more close­ly in prod­uct design. Franke can “soft launch” prod­ucts vir­tu­al­ly and col­lect feed­back from cus­tomers to tweak the final prod­uct. Thus the dig­i­tal show­room has the poten­tial to be much more than a sales floor—it becomes a cus­tomer col­lab­o­ra­tion plat­form, allow­ing cus­tomers to be part of the brand in a mean­ing­ful way.

A brave new shop­ping world

In 1982, Orange Juice sang “rip it up and start again.” While they were singing about rela­tion­ships, the sen­ti­ment applies equal­ly well to the world of mar­ket­ing. Indus­try lead­ers such as Franke are rip­ping up the tried-and-test­ed meth­ods and start­ing again with unprece­dent­ed cus­tomer-cen­tric expe­ri­ences. Very soon, mishaps like my sofa deba­cle will be con­signed to his­to­ry by tech­no­log­i­cal advances. Con­sumers will be able to tai­lor prod­ucts to their unique needs and tastes. And this future will be here soon­er than you think.

Topics: Digital Transformation, custom design, online shopping, product design, VR, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA