Building supplies retailer BuildDirect.com is working with home design app roOomy to make 3-D images of its flooring products available to shoppers.
RoOomy, a brand of 3-D visualization company Loft Inc., allows shoppers to design home interiors using 3-D images of 100,000 products for sale from such retailers as Wayfair Inc., Z Gallerie, Pottery Barn and now Build Direct. In the roOomy iPad app, a consumer can take or upload a photo from her home and then tap on one of the 30 flooring SKUS BuildDirect offers. She then sees how it would look in her room.
“It’s creating a much more convenient experience for users that takes the guesswork out of the purchase,” says Joseph Thompson, head of marketing and growth at BuildDirect.
If a shopper sees flooring she likes, she can tap on it to purchase it, and she will be directed out of the roOomy app and onto BuildDirect’s mobile website to make the purchase. BuildDirect pays roOomy an affiliate fee, Thompson says without revealing specifics. In the future, BuildDirect would like to have shoppers check out within the roOomy app.
BuildDirect Technologies Inc., a Vancouver-based company, is No. 172 in the just-launched Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000 with an estimated $215.7 million in online sales in 2016, according to Top500Guide.com data.
Over the next few months, the retailer is testing to see how consumers use the app and collecting feedback so it can make any necessary changes before it adds more of its 7,000 flooring SKUs, Thompson says. The retailer used a machine learning algorithm to choose its popular and best-selling products for this beta test.
Thompson believes the app integration will increase sales for BuildDirect, but he first wants to make sure the features work well before adding SKUs to the app, he says. He is, however, confident that 3-D imaging is the future of home furnishing shopping.
On average, consumers go to three bricks-and-mortar home improvement stores before making a purchase, he says. “This area is going to see explosive growth,” he says. “Once you use the app and you see the convenience, you can’t unsee it. You can’t go back driving store to store to look at products.”
BuildDirect worked with roOomy on this integration for about six months. The retailer sent high-resolution images of the flooring products to roOomy, which converted them into 3-D images. It takes the vendor 30 minutes to 3 hours to create the image, and the vendor charges $50 to $90 per SKU it creates in 3-D, depending on complexity, says Pieter Aarts, CEO and co-founder at roOomy. For example, a sectional sofa takes more time to model, but flooring is on the simple end, Aarts says.
After roOomy creates the 3-D images the retailer can use them however it wishes, Aarts says. BuildDirect eventually will make the 3-D models roOomy creates available on its own product detail pages, Thompson says.
The roOomy app is geared toward real estate agents and home buyers, so consumers can also view live real estate listings populated with 3-D products, in addition to uploading their own home photos. Real estate agents are using roOomy to stage homes virtually to show to prospective buyers in-app and during open houses, instead of staging the properties with physical products, Aarts says. Staging is when a real estate agent sets up a vacant property with furniture as if a person currently lived in the house. All of the products are linked to the retailers’ website, so that consumers can tap on and shop the items.
The roOomy app is available on iPads; on iPhones, consumers can look at home listings with 3-D products but not upload their own home photos. The vendor also has an app that works with Google Tango technology, which allows a consumer to place 3-D products onto a live camera image on her smartphone. The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, however, is the only consumer-facing device that has Tango.
BuildDirect has raised about $120 million in capital in several funding rounds over the past five years. Investors include Silicon Valley-based Mohr Davidow Ventures and Toronto’s OMERS Ventures, an arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System.Favorite