Originally published in Hardlines Home Improvement Quarterly (Fourth Quarter, 2022).
The Roomvo folks call it “the Imagination Gap.” Dealers see it all the time – and it costs them sales. When it comes to choosing that flooring from a small sample, customers have a tough time imagining how it will look in their own home once it’s installed.
Paint manufacturers have dealt with this problem since … forever. The first computerized paint colour visualizers appeared in our industry some 25 years ago. But back then, they were slow to draw and not very colour correct.
Augmented reality as a technology has actually existed since 1968 when a scientist at Harvard came up with it.
Now, the many visualization apps in the industry are fast, colour accuracy is uncanny, and the whole experience can be connected to e-commerce to capture that sale right now.
Take Roomvo, for example, a registered trademark of Leap Tools Inc., a Toronto-based firm. The company calls Roomvo “the ultimate room visualizer.” Right now, it’s probably made its most significant progress in the flooring category. But it will also works well on countertops, wallpaper, art and, yes, paint.
HHIQ spoke to Alexander Jones, senior partnering manager for the firm, about his company’s cool technology.
“With this visualization platform, customers can take an image of a kitchen or bathroom to see what different surfaces look like,” Jones said. “And with the call to action (over on the right-hand side of the screen) we can drive traffic to the retailer.”
Roomvo is in place in Home Depot stores, among others, and a significant number of major flooring brands are hooked up with it. When a manufacturer signs up with Roomvo they get access to widgets for dealers, so that their dealer-customers can get with the program. There are currently more than 100 manufacturers participating in the program.
Ultimately, Roomvo isn’t so much a piece of augmented reality technology. It’s a “sales enabling tool,” Jones says.
As opposed to the first paint visualizer tools 25 years ago, when online sales barely existed, technologies like Roomvo incorporate the visualizer into the sales cycle. Roomvo says in its marketing that “this shifts the conversation away from price and towards the value that a retailer brings to the table.”
The next question that obviously arises is: Where should the retailer have a visualizer – in-store or on their website?
Roomvo’s marketing says: “It’s important that the retailer stops thinking about their “in-store” and “online” experiences as two separate things. The modern consumer expects a single, cohesive experience across all touchpoints. Part of that omnichannel experience must be a visualizer.”
Roomvo also markets its seamless approach to the sales cycle when a customer engages with the app. The customer never leaves the retailer’s website when using the platform.