Virtual Worlds is continuing to grow with the addition of two new regional sales representatives to its busy team.
Miles Maunganidze and Brandon Kwesiga have joined the firm to help drive sales of its market-leading 3D & 4D Design software and raise awareness of the product in businesses across the south of England, the Midlands and Wales.
Brandon will be covering London and the South East of England and has 10 years’ experience in the bathroom industry since first joining the Bathstore as a sales consultant in 2006. He most recently worked at bathroom supplier Farmiloe where he was the company’s brand manager, having been promoted from the position of business development manager earlier in 2016.
With an equally impressive retail background, Miles will be bringing a fresh perspective to Virtual Worlds, following a successful career in retail store management including spells at House of Fraser and Superdry.
With a business management degree from Brunel University, he will be able to use his customer experience skills to get retailers on board whilst managing sales across the Midlands, South West and Wales.
Nathan MacLean, managing director at Virtual Worlds, said: “We’re delighted to welcome both Miles and Brandon to the team. We’re sure they will both prove to be a real asset to the business in the months and years ahead.
“Having two additional experienced sales representatives in our team will allow us to continue to grow and develop our business, and ensure many more customers are able to take advantage of Virtual Worlds’ design package when they visit retailers and create their dream kitchen or bathroom.”
The KBB retail dynamic has changed dramatically in recent years driven, in the large part, by the advent of e-commerce.
Last year alone, UK online spending rose by 11% to £114 billion and it is expected to grow by a further 11% this year, equating to an overall £126 billion. In fact, it is now estimated that some 27% of all retail sales now take place online.
More so, this age of constant connectivity and contextual relevance has irrevocably changed the way consumers make purchasing decisions; they’re able to instantly compare prices and product reviews in store, consult family and friends instantly via social media and, when they’re ready to buy, there is an ever-growing list of online retailers who will deliver products directly to them and, all too often, at a cheaper price.
Naturally, this hasn’t escaped the KBB industry with an increasing number of consumers choosing to buy their new kitchen or bathroom online. Cue an increased need for KBB retailers to be forward thinking and adapt their services to this new way of interacting with and engaging with customers.
This is clearly reflected in the latest Mintel report on the bathroom sector which concurs ‘Retailers need to build a wide suite of skills to service the complex requirements of a bathroom make-over – services will become increasingly sophisticated, with branded elements to add reassurance for shoppers.’
Here, the remit is about thinking outside the box and applying the use of the technology to a retail advantage. One clever way, for example, of getting consumers through the door with very minimal effort is through the use of an online planner; in short, a CAD planning tool which enables consumers to set out the room plan configuration for say, their bathroom of kitchen, and plot in their choice of furniture and accessories – all from the comfort of their own home.
Obviously, as would-be customers need to input their details beforehand, this not only provides data capture but a captivated potential customer who is actively looking at purchasing a KBB product. As soon as the design is done, it is simply sent on to the retailer to follow up in a timely manner.
From our experience, retailers can receive up 25 designs in a month through an online planner and some manufacturers receive over 200 designs. Assuming they manage to get those enquiries in to the showroom, the result is the ultimate lead generator.
Then, when it comes to in-store, it’s about making the experience as engaging and interactive as possible. Of course, the heart of this lies in the showroom which must be as aspirational and current as possible in order to showcase the full design possibilities available – also in having a strong design consultancy to help inspire customers.
Again though, the latest technology can take the customer experience to the next level.
The industry’s first generation of 4D CAD technology, for example, delivers high quality, virtual reality and an interactive buying experience via a futuristic headset. In this way, users are able to experience a realistic 4D simulation of physically being in their dream kitchen or bathroom design via an avatar set to their appearance; allowing them to see exactly how much space there is between the island units and the oven and to ensure there is sufficient storage for their requirements by extending drawers fully and operating functional fittings such as magic corner units.
The use of 4D virtual reality can become an invaluable business tool. Given that most consumers can struggle to grasp an overhead, 3D plan or flat render, however realistic it looks, the 4D experience negates this problem entirely by allowing designers to express their ideas in a precise way that their clients physically experience. It also enables installers to plan work with confidence, knowing the design will work as ‘real’ products have been tried out in the design.
The result, in effect, is negation of the typical ‘buyer remorse’. Given that a new bathroom or kitchen is a huge investment for the average consumer, it is, of course, extremely important that they get it right. In this way, it effectively alleviates the fear factor associated to buying these big ticket items.
Testament to this, at Virtual Worlds, our customers, for instance, have reported an average 50 per cent increase in sales conversions since using our CAD technology – with some reporting a conversion rate of 80%.
Ultimately, it is important to remember that, unlike the FMCG sector, buying a new kitchen or bathroom is a rare and extremely costly experience. Therefore, amid constant tales of buyers being duped with online purchase which fail to live up to expectations and with two thirds (63%) of shoppers admitting they don’t get the best service and overall experience online3, the business case for the KBB retail experience is a strong one.
However, times are changing and the reality is that the age-old formula of great customer service and an experienced design team won’t always cut it and it’s more important than ever to create stand out. By investing in the latest technological innovations, retailers can look to drastically enhance the buyer experience; creating a tangible ‘wow’ factor which will not only get customers in the door but help close the deal. For more information on Virtual Worlds, please visit www.virtualworlds.co.uk
*Taken from September’s issue of KBB Review – page 20*
CAD technology company, Virtual Worlds has announced it has secured a brand new contract with bathroom brand, HiB.
HiB has recently signed a three-year agreement to feature on the popular Virtual Worlds professional CAD software. This means that all retailers signed up to the programme will now be able to generate interactive simulations of HiB products, to exacting proportions, to be included in their design consultations.
Managing Director, Nathan MacLean said: “In this technological age, where consumers are increasingly seeking to ‘try before they buy’, our CAD technology is playing an increasingly important part of the retail dynamic in the KBB world. In fact, most of our retailers have seen a significant increase in sales conversion rates by offering consultancy in this way.
“As such, we’re constantly looking to increase our manufacturer portfolio to provide true-to-life replicas of all the latest market innovations. It is therefore fantastic to have HiB, a business of such a high calibre and excellent product portfolio, on board.”
Ash Chilver, sales director at HiB, adds: “As a business, we’re always on the lookout for new ways to improve our retail proposition and we believe that Virtual Worlds will help customers to more adequately showcase our products in the various stages of the design process.”
For more information on Virtual Worlds, please visit www.virtualworlds.co.uk.
It has certainly been a successful first-half of the year for innovation led CAD company, Virtual Worlds – which now has over 50 KBB retailers signed up to its ground breaking 4D technology.
Launched in October 2015 on a pre-order basis, Virtual Worlds 4D delivers a high quality, virtual reality and an interactive buying experience via a futuristic headset. In a complete industry-first, users are able to experience a realistic 4D simulation of physically being in their dream kitchen or bathroom design via an avatar; allowing them to get a feel for the space, how the design works, and even try out functions such as opening drawers.
The 4D feature comes as part of Virtual Worlds’ comprehensive ONE package which includes an innovative range of design and selling tools designed to enhance the buying experience and, in turn, improve sales conversion rates for the retailer.
Nathan Maclean, managing director at Virtual Worlds comments: “As a complete industry first for the UK market, we knew that pre-order take up would be strong, however to already have over 50 retailers on board is incredible.
“The reality is that a new kitchen or bathroom is a huge investment for the average consumer, so it’s important that they get it right. With this in mind, our 4D offer takes CAD technology to a whole new level by allowing them to not only see how their design will look but get a feel of how it will work through the motion of actually being in the room. In this way, it effectively alleviates the fear factor associated to buying these big ticket items.”
He adds: “The feedback from retailers who have already implemented the technology has been fantastic and we look forward to more retailers adding 4D to their showrooms this year.”
For more information on Virtual Worlds, please visit www.virtualworlds.co.uk.
Thursday 23rd of June saw the second BKU Awards evening take place at the stunning Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
Launched in 2015, the Awards were created to recognise the retailers, brands, people and services that make the KBB industry fantastic. Virtual Worlds proudly sponsored the awards for the second year running, managing director Nathan Maclean comments “ Sponsorship of the BKU Awards allows us to further contribute to the benefit of an industry that is at the source of our existence. The BKU Awards is the perfect event in which to connect with likeminded people and businesses in celebration of the talent and achievements within the KBB industry.”
Over 250 members of the industry turned out to see the stars of the bathroom and kitchen industry pick up their awards and celebrate the achievements of the past twelve months. A number of Virtual Worlds customers and manufacturer partners picked up awards such as New Bathroom Retailer of the Year for Beyond Bathroom and Multiple Retailer of the Year award for CP Hart along with Best Brand awards for Hansgrohe, Roca and HiB amongst others. Nathan Maclean was proud to present the Best Bathroom Taps Brand to Crosswater who work closely with Virtual Worlds.
The Virtual Worlds team who attended the evening were absolutely delighted to hear the winner of Best Software Brand announced as “Virtual Worlds” accompanied by a supportive cheer throughout the venue. Nathan Maclean, who collected the award, said “Having the hard work of the team recognised and voted for by the industry is a very proud moment and I would like to thank all those who voted for and have supported us over the last twelve months. We look forward to continued success in 2017!”
The hive of activity on stand G100 was unmissable at this year’s KBB Birmingham, as retailers, designers and suppliers were able to experience the latest technology developed by Logicom – Virtual Worlds.
The Virtual Worlds team put on an impressive show with classroom style training and presentations running alongside one-on-one demonstrations. Their iconic yellow chairs and 4D headsets transported a mass of visitors into the virtual world of bathrooms and kitchens, where they themselves became avatars within the designed space.
Nathan Maclean- Managing Director comments, “KBB 2016 has been a major success for Virtual Worlds. Our increased investment in the industry has secured record breaking orders from suppliers and retailers, who were clearly impressed with the advancements made”.
Virtual Worlds ONE is their all-inclusive subscription service that provides a unified future ready solution for designing, pricing and presenting room designs.
As an extension to Virtual Worlds 4D, ‘Room in Box’ sees end consumers take their new kitchen or bathroom home at time of purchase, in what is a retailer branded Google cardboard 4D viewer. With the 4D design posted to their smart phone, which is then placed inside the viewer, the end consumer will wow their friends at home as they step inside their new Virtual World.
In designing this year’s stand at KBB Birmingham, Virtual Worlds have decided to create a friendly, open space that reflects the creativity, innovation and confidence that has become associated with the brand. Managing Director, Nathan Maclean, comments “Our objective for the exhibition is to provide all visitors with an informative, thought provoking and memorable experience, which encourages the industry to think about CAD in a new way.”
Nathan goes on to say “Unlike traditional 2D CAD which is hindered by the delay in editing in 2D and visualising the 3D image, Virtual Worlds boasts the fluid real time editing of the 3D environment. We have now taken that a step further with our fully immersive, 4D development”.
In an industry first, Virtual Worlds launched ‘4D Showroom’ which sees the end consumer wear virtual reality technology to immerse themselves in a fully interactive simulation of their future room. People visiting the stand will be able to experience the game changing power of Virtual Worlds 4D in person.
As well as test driving the new “4D Showroom” technology, activities on the stand will include seminars that explain the benefits and features of all integrated modules, such as pricing, reporting and various web tools that make up the ‘all inclusive’ Virtual Worlds ONE package. There will also be group training classes for existing users and private demonstrations throughout the duration of the exhibition.
For a moment, imagine that you sell houses and for some reason you never let your prospective clients inside. Instead, you tell them to walk around the outside and look in through the windows. If you were to sell houses this way, what opportunities would be lost and what level of buyer remorse will factor in those you close?
Okay, you design and sell kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms: all being rooms within a home, but do you currently ask your prospective clients to look in through the window in order to make a purchasing decision? The window, in this case, is the monitor of your CAD presentation.
If this is how you currently sell, it will pay you to take time out this week to discover how your competitors are opening the door to success and to speak to your Virtual Worlds representative.
Experience what Virtual Worlds 4D is all about and discover how the Virtual Worlds ONE suite of software solutions can give your business a powerful competitive advantage. Integration with business management systems deliver reliable information and increased sales process efficiencies.
Make your business stand out from the crowd and invite your customers to step inside their future room before they buy.
Evolve your business to generate increased showroom footfall.
Provide your customers with an enhanced buying experience.
Offer your customers spatial awareness and peace of mind.
For further details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01908 663848
The start of 2016 has seen a host of updated catalogues launched by Virtual Worlds. Keen to ensure users have the most recent data to hand, many manufactures are switching to a guaranteed update system which sees their products constantly updated on the market leading 3D design software.
The most recent releases include: Luxus, Bisque, Merlyn, Roman, Vitra, TOTO, Roper Rhodes, Pelipal, Lakes, Schuller and Zehnder.
All catalogues are available to existing users via the User Centre. For further details contact the team on 01908 663848.
Last week saw Virtual Worlds out and about meeting retailers and designers, at our 3 day Virtual Worlds ONE event, which was kindly hosted by TOTO at their London showroom.
We wish to express our thanks to TOTO, who provided a great venue and warm hospitality. The space made available to us was perfect.
At the event, we met new and existing clients, where we were able to discuss their specific business needs, as well as present our new Virtual Worlds ONE suite of products. Virtual Worlds ONE is an all-inclusive subscription service that includes-
Virtual Worlds Professional
Online Pricing Module
Remote 3D viewer
Unlimited classroom training
and of course…. our revolutionary 4D showroom, that allows your customer to try on their future new room, for size.
Thank you to all that took time out of their busy day to be with us.
If you haven’t done so already, a visit to the TOTO showroom, 140-142 St John St, London EC1V 4UA, is well worthwhile. They have impressive products, working displays, and a very friendly team.
If you would like to find out more about Virtual Worlds ONE and how is can help your business, contact us on 01908 663848 or email email@example.com