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*
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.
We’re pleased to announce the launch of Virtual Worlds version 5.10 which is available to download now from the user centre.
This new version improves the display of the Virtual Worlds homepage, allowing you to easily define your own text fields, view social media feeds and improve how templates are defined. You can also take advantage of the updated Tile Catalogue Browser interface and the new advanced moulding features which allowfor faster application of architraves, skirtings and covings. For those of you using the VirtualWorlds 4D Showroom or theDesignViewer, there are new buttons available to simplify and speed up the process.
Virtual Worlds at Logicom, the innovation-led CAD company, has appointed Jamie Gibbs as its first Customer Experience Manager. The new role reflects the company’s expansion into software which delivers both advanced CAD design and consumer-interfacing experiences, including its new Showroom 4D. Gibbs will be an external-facing customer champion.
Nathan Maclean, Acting Managing Director at Logicom explains the thinking behind the new position: “Our recently launched Virtual Worlds One package provides customers with a formidable array of powerful design and selling tools, including the exciting new 4D technology. Take-up has been exceptional and Jamie will be providing invaluable after-sales service, helping customers to use all the technology to its full potential and tailor it to their business”.
Gibbs has in-depth knowledge of the Virtual Worlds suite of software, having worked in Support and Training for the last three years. He explains: “My prime focus will be new users, including those of our 4D showroom software, providing hands-on support from the very out-set, so that they quickly get up to speed. The 4D technology is awesome and I’ll be going the extra mile to make sure our customers get the most from it.”
Under a subscription known as Virtual Worlds One, Virtual Worlds 4D is bundled together with Virtual Worlds Professional interactive 3D CAD software, its Viewer App and 2D Planning. Logicom is behind Virtual Worlds and it is understood that more innovations are currently in development, including a pricing module, which will be made available to all Virtual Worlds One subscribers.
Virtual Worlds, the popular KBB CAD software from Logicom, has launched the Viewer App for designers to share their 3D interactive designs with customers.
Compatible with Apple or Android mobile devices, the Viewer App allows designers to create conceptual designs using Virtual Worlds Professional and then upload them for viewing three dimensionally in the App. Likewise, designers can email a link to a customer for them to access proposed designs or a gallery of previous projects, at their convenience.
The Viewer App has multiple interfaces, including touch screen swipe and on-screen navigation. Quick and responsive, the Virtual Worlds App brings to life designers’ plans, demonstrating them in an interactive format. Customers can walk through their room, on-screen, and view it from any angle; open cupboards and doors, look inside a shower, take a close-up of the tiling format, all on their tablet or Smartphone.
Nathan MacLean, Acting Managing Director at Logicom sees the Viewer App as an exciting, additional selling tool: “The Viewer App provides retailers with a powerful, portable sales tool, which shortens the sales process and showcases their designs in a customer friendly, engaging way. The concept of a customer, ipad in hand, standing in their actual kitchen as they tap their way around photo realistic visuals of their new layout, is now an exciting reality”.
The Viewer App has been developed by Logicom, creators of Virtual Worlds. The hosting service, available on an annual subscription, is provided through the Virtual Worlds’ cloud and is therefore secure, controlled and confidential. Once uploaded, plans can be accessed for a time managed period by invited customers only, even if the retailer or designer is off-line.
On Monday 17th November we went from your every day office workers to becoming our very own heroes to raise money for the great charity, BBC Children in Need. We were supported in our efforts by the wonderful Admiral Costumes in Newton Longville who provided many fancy dress costumes to ensure we all looked the part.
Not only did we transform into heroes but we also hosted a hero themed bake off competition! Lots of scrummy cakes were baked and consumed leaving us all dreading the scales but definitely worth it as we raised £100.90 by eating cake alone! Not bad for a day’s work.
To encourage donations from customers, we offered one lucky donator the chance to win a year’s rental of a Virtual Worlds licence as part of a prize draw for all those donating through our Just Giving webpage. We’d like to say a huge thank you to all who donated and special congratulations to our prize draw winner, Plumbrite in Suffolk.
We had great fun organising this event and appreciate all of the support we’ve received, it’s been a great success and so far we’ve raised a total of £431.90!
If you’ve not already made a donation, don’t panic! Our Just Giving page; www.justgiving.com/Logicom is still open so please dig deep and let’s help the Children in Need.
Virtual Worlds from Logicom ran a CAD training day for Fiora Bath Collections’ UK sales team on October 1st, at its Milton Keynes offices. Fiora, best known for its bespoke textured and coloured shower trays across Europe, has recently made its range exclusively available for download on the widely used Virtual Worlds Professional CAD platform.
Focus was given to teaching the sales team the skills to design merchandise displays for retailer showrooms and to highlight how designers can easily include the bespoke finishes of Fiora’s products in their designs.
UK & Ireland Manager Steve Middleton attended the training day with his sales team: “As far as we are concerned, Virtual Worlds is the number one CAD system. This is a ‘must-have’ software for any retailers serious about being a design led showroom; its ability to close deals is fantastic. We are seeing a return on our investment just weeks after our catalogue went live, as retailers are already specifying a wider selection of our products and more frequently. This training day has been excellent and has opened our eyes to just how flexible a design and merchandising tool Virtual Worlds actually is.”
Fiora Bathroom Collections Export Area Manager Guillermo Rubio likewise attended the Virtual Worlds’ training day. CAD is not such a well-established design tool in Fiora’s home market of Spain, where showrooms tend to be larger and customers often select their own products from those on display. He explained: “Fiora’s product range is unique and includes a wide choice of finishes, colours and textures; Virtual Worlds will play a key role in making our products easily accessible and appreciated amongst leading designers and retailers, here in the UK”.
Fiora has already committed to launching further new product ranges on Virtual Worlds in the near future.
For further information T: 01908 663848 www.virtualworlds.co.uk