Wonder how that sofa will look in your home? Turn to this app

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat trying out augmented reality technology on his visit to furniture store Commune at Millenia Walk yesterday.
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat trying out augmented reality technology on his visit to furniture store Commune at Millenia Walk yesterday.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Home owners shopping for furniture often find it difficult to picture what a piece in the store will look like in their homes.

Local furniture company Commune said it will be able to resolve this with a new mobile application.

The furniture maker said yesterday that it will be launching an augmented reality app for customers.

The app will enable them to preview how furniture at the store will look like in their homes, via their smartphones. It uses the phone's camera to scan a room, allowing the user to then place virtual 3D models of furniture in his own home and view them through his 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 an 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 the customer, staff will be able to access customer preferences and shopping history from the customer's 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 head behind a counter and make the customer wait for more information, it breaks the interaction. This system will help us serve customers better."

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat, who visited the store yesterday, 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. 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 the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

Speaking about digital solutions, Commune chief executive Joshua 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."

He added: "The winners of tomorrow will be those who are able to transport the digital world into their stores in a manner that delights customers, builds loyalty and generates brand value."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2019, with the headline 'Wonder how that sofa will look in your home? Turn to this app'. Print Edition | Subscribe