(Author : Prinitha Govender)
Online retailer The Blue Space is ramping up its customer service offering with virtual reality technology for shoppers to choose and buy bathroom designs.
The bathroom and laundry specialists will launch its new technology early next year to enable customers to better design their ideal space. The technology will replicate the customer’s own kitchen or bathrooms (including dimensions), which will allow them to see what a range of packages would actually look like in their own space.
“It simply takes the hassle out of shopping for a kitchen, bathroom or laundry,” says The Blue Space’s managing director, Josh Mammoliti. “You can really see what each choice you make will look like in your house. You can ‘live in it’ before you buy. It helps with choice, saves time and reduces the risk of buying something you don’t actually like.”
The Blue Space’s virtual reality (VR) technology also shows real lighting and reflections, from the exact position of the sun as it moves through the day, based on the consumer’s home specifications, to create a more accurate ambiance of lighting when they are viewing their virtual bathroom design.
The online retailer says its VR technology is within 99.9 percent dimensionally accurate, to correctly display all the fixtures and fittings in the consumer’s space, which includes all hardware and surfaces as well.
“Bathrooms are quite complicated, especially when people are sinking usually $5,000 or a lot more into one. I wanted to build a business that looks at everything that makes it difficult for a customer to build a bathroom or kitchen, and do everything to take down those barriers.”
Mammoliti says one of the main objectives of The Blue Space is to make it easier for customers to build and design their own bathroom or laundry, and be happy with their choice, which also reduces the instance of customer returns.
The ex digital strategist for Caroma, says he saw a gap in the marketplace, and decided to form a company that takes the stress and hassle out of building a bathroom. And with the launch of their new virtual reality technology, that’s exactly what he hopes to achieve.
The company are primarily online, however they have recently delved into a physical presence, with new showrooms in Brisbane and Victoria, and a couple more to open in New South Wales next week, where customers can booking in for a virtual reality consultation or have their bathrooms built online in 3D.
“The showrooms are will be about the virtual reality and consultancy side of things – it’s not really about the traditional showcasing of physical products.”
“We’re aiming for people to come in, do a 3D bathroom or experience it via virtual reality and for us to do the specifications. We can design the bathroom for them. We give them a code. They then load it up on their computer when they go home and play with it, show their family, chop and change things and then buy from home.”
The technology is in its first generation and Mammoliti says the vision for The Blue Space is that one day, people can do this in their homes, with their own virtual reality systems. “One day, hopefully soon, people won’t have to go into a showroom. People can do it all at home and have complete confidence in what they’re buying as well.”
“Some people like to go into a showroom, talk to people and be told what looks good. With virtual reality, it takes down all those barriers so people can buy online. They can see it, they can walk around in it, they can see the changes they’re making and they can get other people, like their friends, to have a look at it as well.” “And experiencing VR is lots of fun as well!” he says.
Developers of the technology, Situ, are currently refining the design, with a virtual colour palette to be implemented into the system at a later stage. The Blue Space are also considering adding consultants in the VR design as well, which will allow consumers to view them virtually through the glasses.
The e-Commerce retailer is looking to install more pop-ups in high traffic locations, where customers can book in for a virtual consultancy. With the absence of a physical product, it gives way for an easier and more scalable showroom to be set up, according to Mammaloti.
“We’re currently testing it out to making sure it all works. Customers will also eventually be able to buy through the VR technology, which is also being tested for its future generation models.”
The company says it’s making other strategic changes to its e-Commerce platform, including new site features such as a new dynamic menu with more drop downs, and making its online store even more mobile optimised due to its high percentage of sale via mobile.
The Blue Space has just introduced new payment method ZipMoney, with a six month interest-free offering for its customers. The company are also looking into increasing its product range, including launching into the kitchen territory at the end of the year, as well as lighting next year.
Source : powerretail.com.au