Danze recently introduced the latest interactive, high-tech shopping experience right in its showroom. Asking the question, “So how do showrooms of today compete and succeed in this competitive and technology-driven world?” Michael Werner, CEO of Danze, realized they evolve. According to Werner, capitalizing on the technology that is often so daunting to showroom owners and managers is precisely what will make their businesses stand out and be successful in the years to come.
“We’ve spent hundreds of hours understanding how homeowners shop, how showrooms operate and how to best intertwine those worlds,” says Werner. “We found that while the majority of homeowners go online first to research kitchen and bath products, more than 90 percent of them go to a physical location to buy. They want to see it in person and touch it before they actually purchase.”
While online research combined with buying on location is hardly a new concept, it became a key insight for the team at Danze on how to best arm its showrooms for an ongoing, competitive battle that must result in more sales. Homeowners clearly need and want both — High Tech and High Touch — and giving it to them in tandem would be a game changer and something the plumbing products category had yet to experience.
The showroom of the future
So the challenge became clear: How do you combine the high-tech world of the Internet and the high-touch world of a physical showroom location?
“We knew we had to create an entirely new shopping experience for our showroom partners and the customers and professionals who visit them,” continues Werner. “But we also wanted to make it easy for the showrooms to operate and succeed.”
The result?An interactive, attention-getting and highly efficient use of eight feet of wall space like no other seen in plumbing showroom displays across the US. The display program is in its initial release now, but will be available to a broader distribution of showrooms in 2015.
Danze partnered with InReality (one of the country’s fastest growing customer experience strategy and design firms) to create this dynamic display that includes several unique features:
- Custom-designed Acrylic Display Pods.A selection of kitchen/bath fixtures were chosen and built onto these simple, yet beautiful pods. Each pod is tagged with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology.
- The Smart Shelf.To trigger interactive on-screen content specific to a particular fixture, shoppers move the acrylic pod from the wall and place it on the Smart Shelf, which reads the RFID tag.
- Touchscreen Display.Once the Smart Shelf brings that specific fixture to life, the touchscreen gives the shopper an opportunity to view it in different finishes, read technical spec sheets, scroll through other product choices within the same collection or move to an entirely new product category. All by using interactive technology available at their fingertips.
“These elements working in tandem combine the power of the Internet and the personal experience of a showroom environment to truly engage the homeowner,” says Werner. “It makes our showrooms partners more dynamic and is easier to keep product information and personnel knowledge up to date.”
In fact, a Danze display within a showroom location gives a shopper that added benefit of an in-store searchable tool just like their table or smart phone provides. However, the display helps users jump directly to relevant content they’re seeking saving them time and money in the process.
According to Werner and his team at Danze, this first progressive step is just the beginning of what’s to come. The interactive features of the showroom displays will soon link to various videos, idea books, designer and trend sites, inspiration pages and give users the ability to post finds on Pinterest, Facebook or other social media channels..
“Danze was founded nearly 15 years on being a progressive, playful and refreshing choice in the plumbing products category,” adds Werner. “We strive for that each and every day – both in the products we offer and the business decisions we make. This is another example of that philosophy in action and how sharing it with our partners can lead to success for all of us.”
Where to find it
The Showroom of the Future is currently displayed in select Ferguson locations throughout the U.S. The program will be available to other showroom partners in 2015.
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