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Homebase touch screens to aid home design process


Home & DIY specialist Homebase could soon unveil digital interactive touch screens in more of its stores after a successful trial of the technology in its newly opened branch in Aylesford, Kent.

Customers upload photos of rooms in their homes and can then visualise how these spaces would look alongside products from the retailer’s selection of bathroom, bedroom, living room or kitchen ranges.

Dubbed ‘Create the Look’, the service uses images of products such as flooring, paint and wallpaper, to give shoppers a realistic view of what their home may look like if they were to buy these products.

The digital media solution was designed by tech solutions provider Qmatic and software firm HintTech, and a statement from the businesses released this week claimed their collaboration resulted in an element of retail theatre that compares favourably with similar services currently operating in Homebase’s rival stores.

Stuart Batt, Head of Digital Media at Qmatic, commented: “During this period of economic turmoil, impressing customers that take the time to visit a physical store is essential to growth and success.

“Providing an extraordinary in-store experience helps to ensure that every new customer becomes a repeat customer.”

Tech innovations allowing customers to virtually test products prior to making a purchase are sure to make increasingly regular appearances in stores as this technology improves in the coming years.

John Lewis is set to trial a virtual mirror in partnership with communications specialist Cisco at one of its flagship stores later in 2011, giving its shoppers the opportunity to see how they look in certain clothing ranges without having to physically try on the item.

The retailer is expected to give users the option of sharing the pictures they generate from the service on social media, in order to get friends and families’ opinions prior to buying the clothing.

Such a tool would be useful for the Homebase ‘Create the Look’ service, and the rapidly developing capabilities of social networking sites would indicate that it may be a function that is utilised in the future.

Research from the Home Retail Group firm said that, in its current format, the technology was used 1,605 times in the first month since it was introduced, resulting in 428 room designs being printed. A total of 98.5 per cent of customers said they found it useful.

Published on Thursday 08 September by Editorial Assistant

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