Two of the biggest and most common challenges faced by independent kitchen and bathroom retailers are lack of showroom space and lack of time. This was certainly the case for Jamie Mckinley of Awesome Interiors. Busy designing bathrooms for his customers and dealing with enquiries, Jamie learnt about the latest 4D design software from Virtual Worlds via the sales team but lacked the time to actually try it out. When he did he quickly realised the advantages 4D technology could bring to his business, and he’s not looked back since.
“I’d been a Virtual Worlds 3D customer for quite a while and was given the VR headset to try, but was too busy to take it out of the box originally. Once I did I was very impressed and realised it was something my customers needed to have access to.”
As soon as they did, Jamie reaped the benefits, with the very first use of Virtual Worlds 4D resulting in a sale. “I did one design in it, the customer put the VR headset on and immediately fell in love with it. That resulted in a £44,000 job,” explains Jamie.
“Often customers are slightly cagey when you show them initial designs, as it can be difficult to visualise them as the finished product. With virtual reality boom, you’ve got them hooked, straightaway.”
Based in Staffordshire, Awesome Interiors has been in business for more than 25 years and as well as kitchens and bathrooms also offers a full architectural design service, taking care of construction work including plastering, brickwork, electrics, plumbing and carpentry. “Virtual Worlds offers a full architect’s tool, which you can’t get anywhere else and this has really helped move our business forward”, Jamie explains. “Customers can see the difference that structural changes will make to their home before any work commences, and this really matters when you’re talking big things such as knocking down walls and changing ceiling heights.”
According to Jamie, Virtual Worlds 4D has led to a direct increase in value-added sales too. He said: “We always start a design by putting the very best of everything into it and then adapt where necessary to suit the customer’s budget. With Virtual Worlds 4D we most often find that the customer will commit to spending a lot more than they originally intended, as they can see for themselves just what a difference that extra investment will make.
“For example, one customer came to us for a new kitchen with a budget in mind of £25,000. We went in with a £40,000 design and they quickly confirmed the plans at £36,000. That’s quite an increase on their originally intentions and this is the difference that 4D technology makes to a sale.”
For the future, Jamie plans to install a Virtual Worlds 4D Theatre in the Awesome Interiors showroom, recognising the benefits it can bring when floor space is at a premium. He said: “When you think you can get the equivalent of 50 showroom displays on to 4D Theatre, the cost of doing that in terms of actual retail space just doesn’t compare.
“4D software is changing the way people buy kitchens and bathrooms and not just that, but it’s changing what they buy too. It’s without a doubt the future for the independent kbb industry.”