Small firms snap up VR opportunity to assist home-owners in designing, selection

Way forward For now, the smaller firms are stealing a march over the larger ones in addressing customer pain points with a life-like VR experience   -

Large firms yet to catch up

Bengaluru, October 11

Designing and doing up your new home with furniture, décor and interiors is a long, drawn out, tedious affair. While smaller online furniture, home décor and interiors firms such as, and have snapped up the opportunity to launch Virtual Reality (VR) solutions that aid customers to design, select and do up their new homes in less than half the time it usually takes, large e-tailers like Urban Ladder and Pepperfry are yet to play catch up.

Livspace, has opened four Virtual Reality-enabled design centres in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi and Gurugram where home owners can experience interiors in real life as well as a virtual walkthrough of their designed homes using proprietary home design platform, Canvas. To do this, Livspace uses a VR kit comprising a hand-held controller and a head mounted device which is connected to a VR-enabled computer.

“We have converted our entire catalogue of 4 million SKUs into 3D models, which can be experienced in our VR zone or on the mobile phone via a 3D video link which can be navigated with your thumbs, or can be viewed by strapping on the phone to a Google Cardboard device” said Anuj Srivastava, co-founder & CEO, Livspace. He says, the average project value of ₹10 lakh has shot up 30 per cent to ₹13 lakh and conversion time has fallen sharply from eight weeks to three weeks with VR.

HomeLane has created Spacecraft, a virtual interior design platform which allows the first-time customer to collaborate with the designer from home in real time, seeing the whole home come alive room by room in 20 minutes per room along with the final quote. Co-founder Srikanth Iyer says, within four months of its launch, Spacecraft has raked in ₹3.5 crore worth of orders. Additionally, average turnaround time to clinch an order has dropped from 46 days to 15 days and physical meetings have dropped from an average of 2.7 times (where each meeting would take 4 hours) to once now. “Customers do not have to wait for weekends or holidays anymore” he said.

Gita Ramanan, co-founder of Design Cafe which has executed 200 homes with VR says, they started with 3D views but moved on quickly to VR a year ago to quell the doubts of customers at the execution stage. “We have never had a problem with conversions as we have experience centres where customers can touch and feel and interact with our designers. However, with VR, customers no longer have doubts or objections at the execution stage as they are completely satisfied with the final product” she said.

Globally, the VR software market is pegged at $35 billion by 2025, however, the India opportunity is still in the nascent stages at $2 billion and is limited by mobile compute power, high latency and battery life, observed Shailesh Ghorpade, Managing Partner & CIO, Exfinity Ventures.

Meanwhile Urban Ladder has converted only 70 per cent of its product catalogue into 3D models and is working on completing the entire catalogue by March 2018. “We will be setting up an in-store VR Experience Zone in our two stores soon; we are testing the Beta version right now and will be ready to launch next year” said Urban Ladder, co-founder and COO, Rajiv Srivatsa. Pepperfry currently offers an Augmented Reality (AR) experience on its app. Sanjay Netrabile, CTO, Pepperfry says, converting products to 3D images is time consuming, manpower intensive, and does not make sense as Pepperfry’s product catalogue which changes every quarter cannot keep pace with rapid advances in VR technology.

For the time being, it looks like the smaller firms are stealing a march over the larger ones in addressing customer pain points with a life-like VR experience that takes care of all the barriers associated with designing and doing up a new home.

Published on October 11, 2017


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