Home AppA CUTTING-edge mobile app is set to change the way customers shop to furnish their homes, as well as offer retailers a new way in which to gauge customer behaviour.

The @home: Your Space app allows customers to browse selected items from the @home catalogue on a tablet or smartphone, and then virtually place that item inside their home, using the device’s camera.

The free-to-download app was created by Sea Monster, a digital animation, game and augmented reality development agency based in Cape Town, in partnership with @home, a division of The Foschini Group (TFG).

According to Sea Monster MD Glenn Gillis, the app incorporates analytics tools that provide useful information about what people are most interested in, such as the type of product, colour or style of the item the individual engaged with the most.

“We can gather information that traditional surveys or in-store observation cannot, because we are allowing the user to ‘play’ in the environment, with their own rules, to a degree.”

The app provides a way “to play with your own living space, and virtually ‘try before you buy’ in a realistic, immersive way”, allowing the company to see which catalogue items are popular with users, and learn more about users’ preferences, Mr Gillis said.

Suren Naidoo, head of enterprise architecture at TFG, said the app had provided the company with an invaluable tool to help its customers. He said the app was aligned to TFG’s strategic objective, which was to “enhance the customer journey and experience by providing simple-to-use utilities in the purchasing journey”.

“It is very much part of our digital strategy to continuously enhance the customer experience and decision making. Given rampant consumerisation enabled through mobility, customers have become accustomed to expect highly focused utilities to assist them in ‘getting the job done’ or enabling efficient decision making,” he said.

“We have no doubt that this will enhance our customers’ experience positively, and allow us to see exactly where their interests lie in terms of our products.”

This article was first published in the 09 March edition of the Business Day newspaper and is available online here

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