2020 has altered the way the world conducts business. Builders have altered procedures, and shifted strategies to keep business running.
A major pain point is: how can buyers select colours and options for their new condo or home; when décor centers are closed?
We have surveyed our customers, and professional connections, and it seems three primary methods have been implemented by builders:
Many developers are looking at the shutdown as an opportunity to move their selections process online.
Digital agencies like Aareas Interactive create online selections tools allowing buyers to select all the colours, finishes and appliances in 3D home. The final color charts can even be signed for online. This is what we call our Virtual Décor Center (VDC).
There are three tiers of VDC:
VDC Packages allows to select between colour packages and limited upgrades. It’s is an inexpensive solution to fill décor selections quickly. Large condos 500+ units can be completed in weeks.
VDC Pro is a full options visualizer and configurator, capable of handling thousands of options and upgrades, including complex linked products and rules. This platform not only increases the speed of option selections but increases builder revenue.
VDC Play is a colour selection visualizer. VDC Play can be used as an online marketing to help sell homes, or to assist a décor consultant in showing a customers’ design selections in a virtual environment.
Builder / Developers are utilizing limited interior renderings of main rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms, showing fixed colour packages by way of multiple images. These renderings are combined into a PDF document and sent to the client. Choices are manually processed by the décor team. This is an inexpensive choice for developers that are only offering limited colour packages.
However, individual add-ons become expensive or impossible to represent visually. Most builders do offer some level of add-ons, which are sold separately from the base package. Representing individual options within a set of still renderings can exponentially increase the total number of renderings required and more renderings = more cost. At a certain inflexion point, a proper VDC will save money and provide a better experience.
By far the majority of builders we have spoken to are ‘facilitating’ standard décor appointments over a video chat platform like Zoom, Skype, or Teams. This involves a décor consultant showing sample palettes over the webcam or reviewing a brochure with the buyer via a screenshare.
While not bad, a major downfall is that it is difficult for buyers to get a good look at the colours and materials from photos or over a webcam. Moreover there is no ability to see the cohesive set of selections together in a visual way.
Buyers may be unsure or nervous about their choices, they may call back into the décor center to change their selections, taking up more designer time.
There is no magic bullet, it depends on the specific needs of the project and its buyer profile. In some scenarios, a combination of methods may yield the best results.
Virtual Décor Center (VDC) is best to: Sell more upgrades, make the best online experience, speed up selections process, can be solely buyer operated if needed.
Renderings: Best used when only a few colour packages, with one or two optional extras and existing décor team to communicate with buyers and process selections manually.
Video Appointments: Existing Décor team necessary, short timeline to start selections, inexpensive option.
If you’d like to discuss further about which option will work best for your upcoming project, feel free to reach out to the team at Aareas Interactive for advice.