SmartSpace was developed to solve the problem many furniture shoppers encounter: what will this furniture look like in my space? The platform enables customers to see customized furniture products in the context of their own spaces, using personal photos to provide real-world visualizations of customized furniture combinations in the context of a customer's home or office.
Beginning from the ground-up, Smart Furniture internally created a tool to use 2D imaged in layers, allowing customers to determine how furniture will look. In August 2013, the retailer upgraded to a .NET architecture for the program to operate more quickly. With the architecture in place, it built an e-commerce platform to deliver the application. For site search, it selected Omniture, which integrates seamlessly into the SmartSpace platform.
Educating customers on how this tool can help them to make a decision proved to be more difficult than the retailer anticipated: "It's a helpful toolset, but because it doesn't exist with other retailers, it's a challenge to incorporate into the shopping experience," says T.J. Gentle, CEO of Smart Furniture. "We have to make sure customers are aware and the tool is easily available. Until it proliferates, many look at it but don't use it."
An update to the tool will be launched this December to include: a "My Space" option on a customer's account page; stylistic recommendations based upon furniture selected; layering the store with a realistic space to enhance the customer experience.
"While we're still very early in the SmartSpace launch, we've seen a very positive response thus farm with a 75-85% conversion rate over the last three months," comments Gentle. Other metrics that are monitored include the increase of repeat order rates, or customer satisfaction.
"We're in uncharted territory, also trying to incentivize people with games to personalize to people – find what people want, what's best? Is one better than the other? Continually updating and customizing. We help the customers to make better decisions, and now they can help us become smarter to make better decisions too," says Gentle.
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