Augmented Home Improvement & Virtual Retail Experience
Role: Director of Immersive Experience Strategy & Design | Brand Creative Lead | CGI/3D Content Strategy | Scaled Production SME
Challenge: Home renovations are expensive and stressful. With hundreds of vanity, tub, toilet, surface, and accessory choices to consider, how do you know where to begin and which style to choose? Equally important, how do you know that the furnishings and materials that catch your attention will look right and fit correctly in your home without inspecting them in a showroom first?
Solution: I led teams in the market & field research, iterative design and development of a high-fidelity prototype e-commerce website and accompanying augmented reality (AR) mobile/iPad application for DuPont Corian®. The functioning POC simulated an in-store showroom experience and enabled shoppers to plan their bathroom, visualize furnishings dimensionally and then complete purchases in a few simple steps.
Learnings from the multi-tiered pilot included deep insights on target customers, industry trends & competitive analysis, potential product partnerships and extensions, site/app usability & roadmap, supply chain and fulfillment considerations, CGI imagery workflows, industrial design timetables, and production frameworks.
Beyond being merely a web site and mobile application development project, our process involved end-to-end innovation strategy and service design. The collaborative journey began with "how do we carve out a unique piece of the bathroom renovation market" for our client, and ended with a fully-functioning renovation planning and enhanced virtual shopping experience.
The mobile AR application offers shoppers the opportunity to “step into” three photo-realistic virtual bathroom environments and explore unique designer-curated collections. Users can then bring elements from the virtual environment into their own physical space, allowing them to see the products in context before they buy.
The application of AR technology and 3D content affords DuPont Corian® Design the opportunity to allow customers to progress through the complete e-commerce lifecycle while fully visualizing and validating their design choices at critical decision points.
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A holistic content strategy ladders up to Corian's brand strategy, incorporates company goals and is influenced by marketing, channel, pricing, product and innovation strategies.
Web Site: User research revealed that homeowners found the sheer volume of bathroom furnishings, fixtures and surfaces on the market to be overwhelming. Further, they didn't feel that they could confidently move to purchase without the guidance of a professional contractor.
The web-based solution addresses these issues by offering a series of all-in-one designer bathroom kits - purchased online and directly delivered to the homeowner.
Our first step was to structure a completely new online shopping experience featuring data-driven immersive content based on individual shopper personas and decorating preferences.
Each of the environments were created around specific themes, including spa-inspired modern, country-rustic, and chic-classic.
Additional space planning and visualization tools: Real-time 3D/360° room viewing capability and 360° product rotations and configuration were incorporated to augment the web experience as demonstrated in this brief concept video.
Photo-Realistic 3D Product Images: All products were reproduced to exact manufacturer specifications in a "digital twin" format, allowing them to be created once, customized in real-time by users, and utilized throughout the experience in multiple configurations.
Dynamic AR-based walk-in "showrooms" and spatially accurate product visualization: As a companion to the online experience, this mobile-AR version of the site was designed to allow the user to experience each of the virtual showrooms and individual furnishings by interacting with them physically.
Being able to walk around each of the virtual designer bathrooms and make final selections after trying them out first in their homes gave potential customers the confidence they needed. Our research showed that by providing both AR capability and interactive space planning tools, we could eliminate a significant number of roadblocks to purchase while keeping the experience efficient, memorable and fun for shoppers.
Mobile Features are demonstrated in this brief video.