How the IT & Design Team at Furniture Company Zuo Modern Uses InstaVR to Create Virtual Catalogs for Events & the Web
Zuo Modern – Retail Client Overview
The retail sector is a prime candidate for disruption as a result of virtual reality. So it’s no surprise that Zuo Modern — a popular designer of furniture, lighting and décor — set out to create a “virtual catalog” in late 2017.
The IT team at Zuo Modern succeeded by combining exquisite renders created using Autodesk 3ds Max & Photoshop, an InstaVR Pro account, and links to product web pages. The resulting VR experience was showcased at large home industry shows in Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Dallas. Salespeople from Zuo Modern are able to show attendees the virtual catalog quickly and easily using oversized 19″ Samsung tablets.
Starting earlier this year, Zuo Modern also included the virtual catalog as part of their web site experience. Now anyone visiting their site can quickly and easily view pairings of different Zuo designs in a virtual home environment, and access information on their various furniture offerings. Creating and distributing VR was made simpler and faster using InstaVR!
View the Zuo Modern VR Experience!
Overview of Zuo Modern
Zuo Modern was founded in 2005 by entrepreneurial friends Luis Ruesga and Steve Poon. The international brand specializes in furniture, lighting and décor — with a focus on designs that are beautiful, accessible and fun. With a new headquarters and showroom in Oakland, California, Zuo Modern employees over 200 passionate employees. You can visit their web site at https://zuomod.com/.
Origins of the “Virtual Catalog” Idea
The IT & Design team at Zuo Modern first became interested in utilizing VR after viewing 360 images of traditional lifestyles they use for their catalogs. The high-quality 3D renders were built using Autodesk 3ds Max and Photoshop. Extremely detailed and visually appealing, the 360 images depicted different rooms in a home filled with Zuo furniture and décor. Thus was born the idea for a virtual catalog.
But not everyone has a VR headset. So Zuo’s IT team wanted the flexibility to create panoramas that would be viewable on tablets, mobile phones, and the web. They could then add interactivity allowing customers to get more information and even purchase items found in the catalog.
Since they already had the renders, they just needed to find the right VR building partner…
Selecting InstaVR as a Technology Partner
Using InstaVR started with an initial Google Search. The Zuo Modern team came across a number of companies that could host 360 images. But to truly create the 360 Virtual Catalog, there needed to be a level of interactivity. After some initial tests, Zuo came to the conclusion that InstaVR Pro would provide the features and support necessary to make this project come to life.
Authoring the Zuo Modern Virtual Catalog
Zuo’s IT team honed in on two specific features of interactivity in InstaVR they wanted to leverage: Navigation Links and Calls-to-Action.
The Navigation Links placed throughout the virtual catalog use custom logos built by the Zuo design team. Placed on the floor in the 360-degree images, they allow app users to navigate from one room of the house to the next, intuitively.
Calls-to-Action enable the virtual catalog to be truly interactive. By tapping (tablet) or clicking (WebVR) on pink tags attached to various furniture and lighting throughout the scenes, users will be taken to the product pages. These existing pages on the Zuo Modern web site provide additional information and product specs.
The combination of beautifully rendered scenes, Navigation Links, and Calls-to-Action provide for a cohesive, enjoyable user experience.
Launching at the Largest Home Market Shows
After authoring the VR experience using InstaVR, publishing was easy. The team at Zuo Modern started by packaging apps to run on four 19″ Samsung tablets. These tablets allow Zuo’s team at major home markets and industry shows to interact with attendees in a quick, casual manor without requiring a VR headset. They enable the potential customer to navigate the virtual rooms themselves and decide which furnishings they’d like to learn more about.
The launch of the app-based virtual catalogs has already started, with Las Vegas Market and Atlanta Gift & Home Furnishings Market attendees being the first to try it out. The feedback from both Zuo team members and virtual catalog users has been tremendous! Casual Living even selected the Zuo VR experience as a top pick at the Atlanta event.
View Casual Living’s Positive Review of Zuo Modern’s VR Experience Above
Expanding Audience via WebVR
Because Zuo Modern’s audience is international, and not everyone can attend a furnishings home show, the IT team wanted a way for everyone to experience the virtual catalog. With InstaVR’s “write once, publish to many” approach, Zuo was able to add the 360 VR experience to their web site. Linking from their home page, users at laptops or on mobile devices can easily view the same 360-degree rooms and select items to learn more about.
Zuo Modern’s team has received a lot of accolades for their VR work. Retailers have already inquired how they can build similar technology for their showrooms. And with each new product launch, Zuo already has the template in place on how to quickly and easily expand their Virtual Catalog. We’re excited to see what they do next with InstaVR!