NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2015
Not Just a Pretty Picture And In-Store Pickup: True Omni
While our most advanced customers integrated 3D-visualisation closely into their customer purchase cycle, product design, logistics and manufacturing as early as 2007, it has really been only during 2014 when we have seen a clear trend towards full omni-channel integration. Most businesses still continue to introduce the capabilities with a light 'integration'(i.e. hyperlinks from existing digital platforms to standalone systems) but, having built the 'seed' customer base in the first 6-12months, they rapidly move to integrate and extend the capabilities to most customer touchpoints. In 2015 we see this trend continuing to accelerate and most businesses
- Enabling Online & App Purchases
Besides consumers being ever more comfortable with buying furniture online and the share of e-commerce growing rapidly, the ability to buy online is also driven by 'showrooming'; Having visited the retailer's showroom the consumer often delays the purchase decision and, to minimize the loss to the competitors, the businesses need to enable completion of the purchase online, when the consumer is ready. This also reduces retailer's labour costs and minimizes errors as all consumer purchase information, including all items, configurations and options, are directly communicated from the visual presentation to the ERP systems, without any manual steps.
- Connecting Channels
Both webrooming and showrooming are nowadays an integral part of most furniture purchases cycles. To ensure smooth transition between channels - in both directions - and to minimize the leakage to competitors, many businesses are now connecting all the customer touchpoints to the consumer's "home-profile" (i.e. the 3D room models and Augmented Reality photos in the customer account). As the same information the consumer used when visualising alternatives at home is also available in the retailer's store, the likelihood to visit is increased (vs.competitors) and the in-store service is more personalized: the customer can be offered advice and alternatives without her having to "go back-home" to measure and try to visualize 'what it would look like'. Also, as the sales person has more information on the customer's environment the first-visit conversion as well as the up- and cross-selling opportunities are significantly increased.
- Utilising Detailed Behavioural Data
When customers compare products using visualisation tools more detailed behavioural and customer interest data becomes available than is possible from collecting just the web-statistics. In 2015 we are seeing our customers starting to increasingly data mine and analyse this information for their sales, marketing, logistics, and manufacturing purposes. In typical cases the analysed data includes information like 'how long an item was evaluated in the visualisation tool', 'which colours, fabrics, and options were used and for how long those were evaluated', 'which combinations of products customer evaluated', 'what colour schemes the customer has at home', 'what are the measurements of the customers environment', 'what has been the past customer behaviour' and 'what were the previous purchases'.
- Changing Content Dynamically
With omni-channel purchasing, ever shorter SKU lifecycles, and more dynamic marketing campaigns it becomes vital to ensure all the information at customer touchpoints is always correct and up-to-date. Although the automatic update of product information has been long used by most of our customers, the closer integration to both ERP and CRM systems has emerged as a trend in 2014.
WebGL - Unplugging Plug-ins
WebGL (a 3D graphics library built into browsers) has for some years had the promise of becoming the next way of implementing 3D visualisation web-applications. While the benefits of WebGL are clear - a barrier-free user experience on any browser without installation of any plug-ins - the limited support by the browser vendors as well as the performance and feature gaps to the plug-in-technologies has so far slowed down the technology adoption. In our testing of various implementations we have now seen these issues diminished and believe that in 2015 WebGL will become the mainstream alternative for 3D visualisation solutions.
Engaging Customer in The Next Dimension with Depth Sense
The world’s first integrated 3D depth and 2D camera module, enabling computers, tablets, and smartphones to “see” depth like human eyes was released by Intel at CES 2014 earlier this year. In 2015 we see this technology rushing into the market as it is being rapidly integrated into consumer mobile devices.
For interior visualisation this opens almost endless new possibilities, for example.
- Photographic 3D models of the customer's home; As the customer uploaded 'photos' include also 3D information, the space and product measures can be made correct without the current 'marker' technologies.
- 3D content creation by almost anyone, e.g. consumers can create models of their existing furniture to combine with the retailers furniture in the true 3D-home models
- Accurate and intelligent modification of photos: Unlike in 2D images, the manipulation of which are always essentially just "photoshopping", in 3D images the items can be automatically removed, materials and colours changed, and event lighting changed in the original image itself.
- "Big Data" analysis of the customer environment: The customer's environment can be analysed for existing items, colours, materials, "moods", etc. enabling improved services, better recommendations, and more personalised marketing.
As it will take some time before all customers have 3D enabled devices, in 2015 we see the technology first being adopted by industry professionals, like interior designers, and by retailers using lend-out devices from companies like Structure and Matterport