SINGAPORE - Home owners shopping for furniture often find it difficult to picture what a piece in the store would actually look like in their homes.
Local furniture company Commune said it will be able to resolve this with a new mobile application.
The home-grown furniture maker announced on Tuesday (Aug 20) that it will be launching a new augmented reality (AR) app for customers.
The app will enable them to preview how furniture at the store will look like in their homes via their smartphones.
The app uses the phone's camera to scan a room, allowing the user to then place virtual 3D models of furniture in their own home and view them through their smartphone camera.
The app is currently at the beta testing stage, but it will be launched by the end of the month.
The furniture brand is also launching a new integrated platform for staff that it says will reduce the time taken to serve customers by about 70 per cent.
Named Commune: In Motion, the digital platform is a smart cloud-based retail solution that brings together the store's customer and back-end data, making it easier for staff to access information and serve clients more efficiently.
For example, even before they interact with a customer, staff will be able to access customer preferences and shopping history from their interactions with Commune's website and mobile app, allowing them to deliver a more customised shopping experience.
Staff will also be able to access product information, key selling points, and inventory data via mobile or tablet, meaning they no longer have to walk behind a counter to do so on a desktop.
Speaking to The Strait Times, Commune Brand and Design Director Julian Koh said: "When staff have to head behind a counter and make the customer wait for more information, it breaks the interaction. This system will help make things more seamless and help us serve customers better."
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat, who visited the store on Tuesday, said Commune is a good example of how companies can use technology and innovation to transform the retail sector.
"My belief is that there is no sector that can say they don't want to transform or cannot transform. It is possible for every sector," he said, adding that this includes small- and medium-sized enterprises.
"There are plug-and-play solutions that are available. The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) offers a range of digital solutions that companies can use and deploy readily."
Commune: In Motion was supported by government agency Enterprise Singapore and IMDA.
The platform was a result of an experience technology road map that was developed through a design thinking workshop organised by IMDA.
Speaking about digital solutions, Commune chief executive Joshua Koh said that the retailers who thrive in the next decade will be those who can reimagine their stores for the digital age.
Adding that he firmly believes brick-and-mortar stores are not dead, Mr Koh said: "Brick and mortar retailers have enormous opportunity to leverage the distinct benefits of 'old fashioned, in-person shopping' in ways that digital sites can only dream about. People still want that human touch.
"The winners of tomorrow will be those who are able to transport the digital world into their stores in a manner that delights customers, build loyalty and generate brand value."