Investment in digital innovation has helped a Teesside-based communications agency win the race to market with an app that retailers can use to help its customers choose wisely.
The In-situ app uses 3D augmented reality to help retailers show people how items on their wish list will really look in their homes.
Cool Blue Brand Communications, based in Middlesbrough’s Boho Five, also with offices in Newcastle and London, decided to make a substantial investment in developing the app as it counts many furniture and interiors retailers as its clients.
In-Situ means those clients will have the digital technology to be able to compete on a level playing field with multi-nationals with access to billion pound budgets.
Cool Blue managing director Tanya Garland said: “The North East is known for its digital innovation and this is another example of the region leading the way.
“We are ahead of the curve when it comes to this technology and Cool Blue is giving these companies the chance to steal a march on their competitors with this very useful tool.
“Companies wanting to adopt this technology can avoid any delay caused by years of development – with us providing a bespoke version just for them.
“Use of In-Situ could give the whole UK furniture sector a much-needed boost, driving sales and taking shoppers much closer to that purchase.
“It means that the indecision that shoppers feel when they can’t quite imagine what the new item will look like in their own rooms is removed – will it look too big, too small, too patterned or too plump?
“It creates greater confidence for the shopper – and a quicker sale for the retailer. It’s even possible to do a close-up of the fabric or perhaps the grain of the wood.”
The app is simple to use with customers scanning video of their room into it, so they can then drop in accurate, scale versions of their furniture choices. They can be shared via social media so a second opinion is almost instantaneous.
Tanya added: “We live in the age of immediacy, people want instant information and In-Situ will help reshape the way we shop – no more waiting for the delivery man to see how our furniture will look.
“Retailers will also make huge savings from reducing returns from web purchases, for example large items that don’t look the same in real life or just don’t fit.
“We are really thrilled to have been able to develop the app and take it to market so quickly after the technology became available.”