3 Tips Retailers Can Learn from Zuo Modern’s Virtual Catalog
Zuo Modern, the Oakland-based furniture designer, recently utilized InstaVR to create a “virtual catalog.” This powerful and engaging sales tool was first unveiled at home market shows in Atlanta and Las Vegas, garnering rave reviews from the likes of Casual Living. For many retailers wondering how VR can help their business, Zuo Modern provides a solid blueprint on how to do so without extensive financial investment. They were able to quickly author and deploy the Virtual Catalog to Samsung 19″ tablets and the Web, giving Zuo shoppers everywhere the opportunity to view the virtual showroom.
From our interview with their IT & Design team, we selected the three best tips other retailers can use when making their first VR application. And as a reminder, you can sign up for a FREE InstaVR account to create a Proof of Concept retail app before upgrading to our InstaVR Pro platform.
In addition, we highly suggest you read/view:
1. Invest Time & Money in Capturing/Creating the Highest Resolution 360-Degree Media Possible
Zuo Modern has an excellent IT & Design team. They created extremely high quality 360-degree renders using Autodesk 3ds Max and Photoshop. If you haven’t yet, definitely take a moment to appreciate the exquisite detail they included here: zuomod.com/360
The virtual rooms they created are so well rendered that when I showed them to another InstaVR customer, he thought they were high resolution photos. You don’t want to skimp on the software you use for your 360 media. That means for a camera, absolutely nothing less than 4K, and ideally something like the Insta360 Pro. If you’re creating renders, either make high quality ones using a program like Autodesk 3ds Max, or outsource it to someone who can.
InstaVR can output in whatever resolution you input into our system. So don’t worry if you have 4K images — your application can be rendered in 4K. Not every phone is currently 4K compatible, but it’s better to put your best foot forward (ie use high quality images), than have a less-than-ideal visual experience for users with newer VR headsets and phones.
2. For a Great User Experience, a VR Headset is Not Always Necessary
There’s obviously a lot of excitement around VR headsets, such as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. But not every 360-degree experience has to be exclusively available on those platforms. With Zuo Modern, they were first showcasing their work at home market shows in Atlanta and Dallas. These events draw a high amount of foot traffic.
Rather than the laborious process of loading users into a headset initially, the sales team at Zuo was showing attendees the virtual catalog on 19″ Samsung tablets. These reasonably priced oversized tablets caught the attention of people walking by. But more importantly, it allowed the user to quickly see the value in the VR experience. They could use the gyroscope or finger swipe to navigate the rooms full of Zuo furniture and lighting.
More recently, Zuo has released the 360 experience on the web (link found on top of this page). Again, it doesn’t provide as immersive an experience as say a Google Cardboard. But it does allow as wide an audience as possible to use it. And for those with headsets, you can package using InstaVR to allow WebVR to go into dual-view mode with a double tap.
Sure, VR headsets are sexy and immersive. But you want to match the display mechanism to the audience who will be viewing it. Luckily with InstaVR Pro, you write the VR experience once, and then single click publish across platforms.
3. Make the Experience Interactive
Let’s be honest: interactivity is cool! It’s why video games supplanted movies in popularity. It’s why Pokemon Go got people to actually go outside. It’s why apps like HQ Trivia thrive.
It’s pretty easy to put together a passive retail VR experience that showcases your products. But your users are going to want more. Zuo Modern took great advantage of the interactive features of the InstaVR platform. They added Navigation Links, allow viewers to go from room to room in the house, finding the exact furniture that’s of interest to them.
And they also added Calls-to-Action that open new tabs with information on the products. Just looking at pieces of furniture is fun, but to actually purchase it, you’re going to want more information. That’s why their custom designed pink tags, linking to web pages, are so impactful. They facilitate the View -> Learn More -> Inquire About Purchasing buyer’s journey.
Adding Navigation Links, Hotspots, and Calls-To-Action are very simple. They’re all drag-and-drop in InstaVR. Building in interactivity makes VR apps more engaging and valuable.
There’s a lot of interesting things happening in the retail VR space. Zuo Modern shows that you can create a very well-received VR experience for industry shows or the web without needing coding knowledge or outsourcing to another company. InstaVR helps bridge the gap so companies can become VR-ready in days, instead of weeks or months. There’s real ROI in rolling out VR as part of your marketing plan — don’t wait when you can be creating retail VR experiences today!