A personalized shopping experience is no longer an expectation of consumers, but a demand. As more consumers move online to shop, brands are being forced to offer the same level of service and experience online as they do in-store. With this shift, new companies have popped up to help online retailers replicate the in-store shopping experience. One such company is Modsy, a personalized home design solution, which recently announced the closing of an $8 million round of financing. In this interview with Total Retail's Executive Editor Joe Keenan, Rob Royer, founder and CEO of Interior Define, an online retailer of custom furniture (and Modsy customer), discusses how virtual technology can help online retailers drive sales.
Total Retail: How will virtual technology help retailers to merchandise and sell their products?
Rob Royer: One of the biggest pain points retailers face is being able to help consumers visualize how a signature piece of furniture or a coveted accessory will look, set within the context of their own home. Virtual technology solves this problem by enabling retailers to visually recreate a consumer’s space and stage their products within it. The ultimate sales tool for a retailer is to be able to stage products within a consumer’s house, and with virtual technology platforms like Modsy, we’ve made it easy for the consumer to feel confident in their design decisions and to say, “yes, I will buy that.”
TR: How does Interior Define plan to use virtual technology on its e-commerce site?
RR: Virtual technology sits at the center of our online user experience. We sell highly custom upholstered furniture, and virtual renderings enable us to communicate our customization capabilities and overall brand proposition to customers. We introduced 3-D product renderings on our website last year, and we plan to take our online experience to the next level with a virtual product configurator this year. We also plan to introduce an option for customers to place our custom pieces within a rendering of their own space via Modsy.
TR: What are the goals/business benefits that Interior Define hopes to realize from its use of virtual technology?
RR: Given all of the potential sizes and material combinations of our products, it would be nearly impossible — and definitely cost prohibitive — to merchandise a high percentage of our assortment without virtual technology. After the introduction of 3-D product renderings, we witnessed significant improvements in our e-commerce engagement and conversion rates. As a next step, by allowing customers to virtually place pieces in their own spaces, we expect to continue to boost these rates.
TR: How are Interior Define’s customers using virtual technology on the company's site?
RR: Today, the first images a customer sees when landing on our homepage are renderings (produced by Modsy) of one of our most popular sofa designs. The images are rotating to demonstrate custom configurations, fabrics options and leg options. From there, a customer can click to a product page, where he or she can view a 3-D sofa rendering in 360 degrees, and can apply any of our fabrics or custom legs to the frame.
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