12 Mar How Virtual Reality Showrooms Benefit Both Shoppers and Businesses4 min read
Furniture shopping can be both fun and stressful for customers, and it can be a challenge for home furnishings dealers. Customers stare at a piece of furniture, and put different fabric swatches on it, trying to imagine how a couch will look with this color or that pattern. They’re often not quite sure, and they worry about it until they finally get it home and see how it looks.
If they love it, great! But if they don’t, you have to deal with the hassle of the return and they’re back to square one, starting the entire process all over again. This means retailers need to deal with the exchange and figure out what can they do with a special order item or a custom-made piece.
Customers are also interested in looking at furniture at all times of day and night, even when the showrooms aren’t open. And since most online experiences are the same, there’s nothing that stands out or makes the experience feel personalized to them.
This is where a virtual reality showroom can make a real difference to furniture stores.
- They let customers shop from anywhere at any time.
- They reduce showroom costs while increasing overall traffic.
- They can easily plug into any website.
- They increase the size of your orders.
- They increase the time people spend browsing online.
A virtual reality showroom can help your customers get an idea of what your different products are going to look like in their own homes while shopping your showroom in the comfort of their own homes.
“Our system allows customers to shop a showroom from any location, 24/7,” says Rich Kehoe, National Business Developer for DOVR Media, which integrates with PERQ’s website conversion software. “Regular showrooms cost retailers a ton of money to keep them open during the day, and so many people work that they don’t have time for a good walkthrough of a showroom.”
The VR application can be something like in-showroom headsets used by brands like IKEA, Office Depot, and Ashley Furniture, where users can look at different furnishings and find their favorite combinations among all the choices. It gives consumers a realistic idea of what different furnishings and combinations will look like in their home, rather than just relying on imagination and memory.
A virtual system on your home furnishing website will also allow people to look at your entire showroom from the comfort of their own home. An online VR showroom can plug into virtually any website and connect all of your furniture items into your ecommerce solution for easy online sales. It’s ideal for customers who want to special order a product, or want to have their items shipped to them across the country, but don’t want to spend the time to actually visit your showroom.
“VR is a great idea for walking customers through the showroom as if they’re right there,” says Kevin Watson, an independent marketing specialist representing Ashley Furniture Industries, “It’s an amazing way to show your home furnishings store.”
Another benefit of the VR experience is that it can help increase the size of your orders as customers get more ideas about the possibilities in their home.
“We’ve collaborated with PERQ, and together we have helped influence revenue over $1.5 million in one sales quarter,” Kehoe says. “Virtual tour customers were on the website an average of 622% longer than all others.”
In other words, when customers see their chosen couch next to that end table, they may decide to buy the end table, too. It’s a good way to show off some extra pieces they might not have thought of, and give them new ideas.
Virtual reality showrooms can also help cut down on returns because customers will have a better idea of whether the item will work in their home or not. You can avoid the “it clashed with the paint” or “it didn’t fit in the space” return problems.
Finally, home furnishing retailers can use the analytics from the VR apps to find out which patterns and pieces are the most popular and least liked. Rather than just relying on sales data, which only tells you what has sold, you can use the VR data to examine color combinations and even style preferences. If you find that more people are rejecting a pattern quickly or repeatedly, that can give you a better idea about people’s reactions to it and whether you should continue selling it.