From Virtual to Reality

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Ten years ago the virtual reality (VR) concept would render images of cheesy 80’s Sci-Fi’s and nascent gaming technology, appearing more like a fantasy for technologists with little bearing in the real world.

That is, of course, until now. Today, VR is not so much creeping but rather leaping into the mainstream.

Only last year we saw Oculus, Samsung and Sony get seriously big on VR, keenly competing to achieve media share for their latest headsets and this trend shows no sign of abating anytime soon.

But, you may ask, can VR really have a tangible business impact in the KBB world? The answer is irrevocably yes, and for those retailers who aren’t already using it the (not so virtual) reality is that it really is no longer a case of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’…..

More in Store

For the large part, VR allows KBB retainers to create that all-important USP in what, with the dominance of e-commerce, has become a keenly competitive market.

Today’s abundance of online KBB retailers, many of which offer a fast delivery and cheap prices, mean it can be all too tempting for consumers to buy their kitchen or bathroom on the Internet from the comfort of their home.

This, in turn, has put increased pressure on traditional retailers to create a 4D Plus imagetangible differentiation to win business. 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.’1

Here, the remit then is about thinking outside the box and applying the use of the technology to a retail advantage: cue the VR revolution.

The integration of VR with design consultancy quite simply takes the customer experience to another level. Virtual Worlds’ 4D CAD technology, for example, delivers high quality, virtual reality and an interactive buying experience via a futuristic headset whereby users can realise a 4D simulation of physically being in their dream kitchen or bathroom design.

Sitting comfortably in their chair complete with an avatar (which is even matched with appearance) they can experience every socket, every stitch, each and every fine detail of their concept and how it may look and feel in real-time. Want to check how much space is between the island unit and the oven? Check. Extend drawers to ensure sufficient storage? Check. Operate functional fittings such as magic corner units? Check.

This digital transformation of blended reality experience with product design takes the ‘try before you buy’ concept to whole new level and it is a very powerful business tool.

From our experience, most consumers will struggle to grasp an overhead, 3D plan or flat render, however realistic it looks, yet our 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.

4d KitchenThe result is the end of ‘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 – and given the fact that two thirds2 (63%) of shoppers admit they don’t get the best experience online this makes for a very appealing proposition.

Testament to this, here at Virtual Worlds, our customers have reported an average 50 per cent increase in sales conversions since using our CAD technology – with some reporting a conversion rate of 80%.

Future Gazing 

While VR has certainly come a long way in recent years, it really is just beginning.

Having already launched the industry’s first 4D CAD software in 2016, here at Virtual Worlds we are all geared up for the launch of the next generation of product which will truly blur the lines between virtual and reality like never before. And we have lots more in the pipeline.

Indeed, while good customer service and expert design consultancy will always be the pinnacles of success in the KBB world, the blending lines of VR for consumer and enterprise use cannot be ignored. It is the future and what all retailers should be aspiring to in this age of digital transformation.

 Sources

1 http://store.mintel.com/bathrooms-and-bathroom-accessories-uk-august-2013

2 http://www.information-age.com/industry/uk-industry/123459020/two-thirds-shoppers-unhappy-online-customer-experience

Maximise The Millennial Movement…

With a new report highlighting the millennial generation as the UK’s most active renovators and decorators, Virtual Worlds is reminding retailers of the importance of selling on the benefits of CAD technology to this captive audience.

According to a new report by Houzz, over half (57%) of millennial homeowners (aged 25 to 34) renovated their home in 2015, which was in line other age categories. However, millennials far outpaced other generations when it’s comes to delving into decorating – with 79% having recently redecorated compared with 71% of those aged 35 to 54 and 68% of those 55 and over.

Nathan Maclean, managing director of Virtual Worlds comments: “It is interesting to see this distinctive market shift as the younger catchment group begin to enter the housing market and invest in customising their new home. More so, with the report showing that the kitchen is the second most prevalent home improvement focus, shortly followed by the bathroom, it certainly reflects a buoyant opportunity for the KBB retailer.” 4D Bathroom

To help retailers take stock of this opportunity, Virtual Worlds’ innovative 4D CAD technology, the first of its kind in the UK, enables would-be buyers an incredibly realistic 4D simulation of physically being in their dream design. Users are able to immerse themselves in the room as an avatar; allowing them to get a feel for the space, how the designs works and even try out functions such as opening drawers.

Nathan adds: “As a generation already well accustomed to the marvels of modern day technology, millennials are a natural audience for 4D simulations; and in fact, from our experience, many actively seek it as part of their buying process.

“For the retailer looking to tap into this opportunity then, we’d recommend it as a way to attract business, create standout and driving sales – after all, once a customer has had the experience of walking around their dream kitchen or bathroom design it is very likely that they will be sold.”

Thinking inside the box….

 

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.

4d Kitchen

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.  4D Bathroom

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 sales@virtualworlds.co.uk                          or call 01908 663848 

New Version 5.8 ‘Hot off the press’… well almost!!

Have you all downloaded the new version of Virtual Worlds yet? And if not, why not?

The new all singing all dancing 5.8 version, is now out and ready to be downloaded from the Virtual Worlds User Centre! So before you think ‘I’m quite happy with the version I have’ here are just some of the new key features that come with 5.8 and which you will miss out on, if not downloaded:

  • Users can now download plans and drawings developed in AutoCAD or Google Sketch Up into Virtual Worlds Professional, such as architects’ or builders’ plans, to create their own KBB designs and then export the final plans back in a compatible file format 

 

  • Virtual Worlds 5.8 now automatically carries out maintenance checks and actions on opening the programme – this sees the system regularly updated with licence information and ensures crucial computer services are kept running

 

  • The new version of Virtual Worlds has significant improvements to hard copy reports generated in the 2D plans and elevations section, in order to enhance the quality of visuals to show customers. Thus further improving the user experience

Plus, some of the latest product catalogues are only available if you have the new version on your PC! So quite simply, if you want to make sure you have access to the very latest product ranges from all our manufacturers, don’t waste another minute; get yourself to the Virtual Worlds User Centre on www.virtualworlds.co.uk and get downloading.

But if you are completely new to the idea of CAD for designing and fear you’re getting left behind in the world of kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or interior design; why not give our sales team a call, or drop them an email! Virtual Worlds is well known for it’s ease of use, impressive photo-realistic renders, real-time interactive fly-through function and comprehensive library of manufacturer catalogues. Make sure you can take advantage of Virtual Worlds’ sophisticated and intuitive software package – the only design tool to give you a real competitive edge! 

01908 663 848

sales@virtualworlds.co.uk

www.virtualworlds.co.uk