Prior to implementing Augment, the interior design studio team at Fabindia worked with customers by selecting furniture from catalogs and creating room layouts, but they faced the challenge of helping their clients visualize what their space would look like before they purchased the furniture. Fabindia wanted to work with its customers in innovative ways and needed the technology to do so. When the opportunity came to evaluate solutions, they researched the options and soon chose Augment.
Fabindia is India’s largest private platform for home and lifestyle products that are made from traditional techniques, skills, and hand-based processes, linking over 55,000 craft based rural producers to modern urban markets. They are one of India’s largest retail brands, with 235 stores across 91 cities, with Home as a special area of focus.
Fabindia offers design solutions to create unique homes for its customers that serve as an extension of their personality. Their home furnishings are craft-led, beautifully curated, and individualistic. While the products are seeped in traditional techniques like hand block printing and weaving, the tools they use are modern and contemporary.
One of Fabindia’s business verticals is the Home vertical, and a key category is furniture. Previously, Fabindia exclusively operated a retail business. In 2016, they decided to add a service business. By setting up interior design studios, they were able to display furniture out of a catalog, but in a brick and mortar space. This way, shoppers could use a physical or digital catalog while interacting with a designer to find solutions.
While the new service business helped Fabindia extend its impact, they wanted to better serve their new, young customers who are moving into their own apartments. One of the biggest challenges Fabindia faced was helping their clients visualize how the furniture would fit into their space before anything was purchased. “It’s a difficult decision to buy furniture from a catalog without seeing it in context,” said Sharika Bhan, Chief of Business, Home & Lifestyle. This difficulty can lead to frustration and indecision, which slows or halts the buying process all together.
Fabindia researched technologies that would help customers get a better understanding of how their furniture would look and fit in their space. They selected Augment and piloted the augmented reality technology with its first interior design studio in Delhi. Fabindia loaded their furniture catalog onto Augment in the form of 3D models, and they use the solution in two ways:
- Interior designers at Fabindia studios consult with clients on site through E-catalogues using augmented reality to show furniture that isn’t available on the showroom floor. Creating an “endless aisle,” Augment lets designers show clients any furniture option, regardless if it’s physically there or not.
- Clients visualize furniture in their home that was recommended in the room layout created by their Fabindia interior designer. They’re able to see how their space will look and confirm that furniture will fit well before they make the purchase.
The Impact of Augmented Reality on Retail
There was a lot of curiosity and interest from Fabindia shoppers. After a client goes through the process with the augmented reality visualization component, there are positive reactions.
“They’re more confident in their decision making,” Bhan says. “In some cases, a client won’t think a piece of furniture could possibly fit in a particular room, but augmented reality helps them visualize it in the space.”
By the end of 2016 – 17, eight Fabindia interior design studios were using Augment. By the end of 2018, they plan on increasing their footprint to more than 20 studios with Augment.
“With Augment, our interior design clients are more easily able to make their decision. The solution plays a role in converting the customer.”
Fabindia found that allowing customers to see how a selection of their furniture would look in their homes helps them more than merely visualize how it could fit through 2D photos. Even with a product’s dimensions and high quality images, visualizing how it would look in your space is simply up to your imagination. Augmented reality adds a physical presence behind product photos with 3D models.
Through its traditional, hand-crafted techniques and modern tools, Fabindia is an amalgamation of past and future, creating a unique solution for its customers.