The Bloggers event hosted by Home Planeur Lounge
We have recently been invited at the Home Planeur Lounge, the physical headquarter of an online furniture brand which combines the Italian tradition of furniture manufacture with the user experience of the digital world, a new bond, an innovation which is catching on. Therefore we wish to tell you about our talk with one of the brand ambassadors, Gabriele Trapattoni, e-commerce specialist, who told us the story and the philosophy behind Home Planeur, and the digital company from which it came from: Area D., also creator of two other platforms arredaClick, e ArredaSystem:
HomePlaneur.com – It is a “direct to consumer” brand, exclusively available on its own website, or in its dedicated physical spaces. HomePlaneur is an editor of modern furniture for the residential sector, with extremely customised products, which are made by its factories partners in Italy.
Arredaclick.com – It’s an e-commerce platform which works on the European area, it is unique because it offers a complete home furniture selection, together with an high level of customisation for each collections.
ArredaSystem.com – It is a multichannel business model for furniture brands, it combines the process automation (web), and the traditional distribution (retail).
Home Planeur : the first Italian furniture brand 100% digital and tailored
CC: Tell us about this new online furniture brand, Home Planeur, what makes it different?
GT: Home Planeur is a collection of modern home furniture, that can be customised and distributed online. HomePlaneur can be defined as:
- Tailored: like the haute couture, furniture can be custom made. Each client can configure its product accordingly to his own necessity and make it unique.
- Digital and easy: a digitally native brand, sold on the web and available anywhere at any time; each content is thought to allow the user buy comfortably from home (detailed images, short info, realistic samples)
- Trustworthy, timeless, accessible: contemporary furniture, away from fashion moods, always trendy and durable in time, thanks to the great quality level of materials and manufacture. To conclude: a sale without intermediaries, in order to have a competitive price, a direct connection from the manufacturer to the consumer.
CC: How do you choose the products and materials available on Home Planeur?
GT: All our partner factories have to stick to the principle that everything must be 100% made in Italy. The factories we work with are based in the historical areas of furniture manufacturing, Brianza and Triveneto. The products on sale are part of their own catalogues, and Home Planeur re-edit and make them custom for the client, so that the client can enjoy a complete and coordinated furniture project. All the construction process is supervised by Home Planeur project mangers, who coordinate specialised factories, making sure everything goes right and in the given timeline.
CC: How important, and how many energies do the pics of products together with the coordinated image of the website require?
GT: for a digital brand photographs are fundamentals. Product images and videos, as well as manufacturing records, renders and 3D models are all by us, and they have a double scope: both emotional and functional. At a functional level they are useful to show construction details, offering a complete documentation of the furniture piece che customer is away of what he is going to buy. On the emotional side instead, we offer the image of the product on a white background, because we want to go against the idea of slick interiors you usually see on magazines and catalogues. It is hard for the customer to imagine himself in those high end environments, since they are far away from the reality of his own home. The pics made on a white slide with a neutral set instead highlights the potentials of the furniture, giving them a real value.
CC: Why there is an Home Planeur Lounge since your business has such an important digital footprint?
GT: the Lounge is a physical space open to public, and related to the digitalisation of the sales system. At the Lounge the customer can understand better the emotional values and the technical contents of the brand, moreover he can see collections’ samples, and interact with a designer/salesman. This comes as an answer to the necessity of having a meeting space between our digital based brand and the people interested in our collections, here you can touch materials and have advice.
3D Configurator: the new border of the custom made
CC: You have gone through a long way to get here, therefore how do you plan to develop further Home Planeur website and to improve its user experience in the coming future?
GT: the next step is the integration of a 3D configurator, the future of custom made is direct to users. When you talk about interior design, 3D is crucial, the same thing must become for furniture design: the custom made we guarantee must be lead to the highest levels through the visualisation of what the client imagines. The online sale so far has always been based on imagination: with the integration of a 3D configurator the user experience becomes easier and more fulfilling, the configurator is a tool the help the awareness before the purchase. It is an essential solution to overcome the efforts of abstraction from the user. With the 3D the user buys what he sees.
CC: How do you plan to face this new digital challenge?
GT: Thanks to the partnerships with Area D., DAU and through the platform d-next it will be possible to have access to the graphic configurator from the browser. Before, the software was accessible only through 3cad. The main challenges are about the research of the best compromise between the quality of models and textures, and the speed of loading, rotation, zoom-in and zoom-out of the model.
CC: How the user experience is going to change?
GT: The first thing we did was to re-check the product fiche for the integration of d-next. We then identified 4 substantial amendments, in order to make the user experience easier:
- 1. Call to action “CONFIGURE” clear and visibile, with the move of photographic gallery below the graphic space and the analytic configurator.
- 2. Analytic configurator similar to the existing one, but placed on the side of the space dedicated to images or graphic configurator.
- 3. Photographic gallery which allows an easy switch from d-next (graphic configurator) and the static pics of the product, with the saving of the customised choice made, and the visualisation of the personalised product preview in the configurator. Freedom to modify the product with a simple click on the analytic configurator.
- 4. Visualisation of the object the way it has been customised also in the basket
CC: Have you already tested what you have just described?
GT: In order to try our potential graphic configurator we started from the most difficult products: the upholstery. A perfect sector to test the quality of textures, models, modularity, and the loading speed. The objective was to find the right compromise between the realism of the models, and the textures (with all the colour shades and different fabrics), and the loading speed of all these variables. We are sure that what is applicable on sofas is going to work also on bookshelves, wardrobes, and equipped wall.
An example of customisation we made is the Free Sofa (video). A challenge that gave us a great satisfaction and that allowed us to fix the way parameters work, these are fundamentals for the good coming out of our graphic configurator, because the object adjusts to a value given by the user allowing, in this way, a bespoke amendment. Through the experimentation, and with continuous tests like this one carried on advanced and complex products, we are going to make a Visual Planner to create environments 100% Home Planeur.
CC: Please tell me more about this Visual Planner.
GT: Il Visual Planner is going to have two big advantages: the user will work with a simple and intuitive tool for an independent customisation. Alternatively, at the Lounge, an Home Planeur designer is going to assist the customer in the project, and he will be able to change it at any time in any place and way whenever he wants.
Area D. - The Company Vision
CC: Who had the idea to create Area D., and all the digital realities connected to it?
GT: Everything comes from the mind of Andrea Diotti, CEO of Area D., that he founded in 2008, with the aim to change the way we distribute furniture. During and after his degree in Business Management at Bocconi University he grew professionally working for years at the family furniture shop as designer, salesman and advertising manager. Since the beginning of 2000s Mr Diotti understands the potential of the web and he starts implementing strategies focused on improving the efficiency of the family’s business website. Thanks to the e-commerce ArredaClick.com, Area D. becomes the reference point for online furniture in a very short time, with something more than its competitors: “it is not about just buying online, you also can customise and rely on a specialised assistance, exactly like being in a traditional showroom.” In 2011 ArredaSystem is born, a multichannel business model for all the furniture brands on the market. Using ArredaySystem manufactures can use solutions that integrate Web and Retail. The know-how we got during the years is offered to manufactures who wish to use the web to implement sales, and lead high quality traffic on their retail distribution. In 2014 Mr Diotti decided to step further: create the first Italian furniture brand entirely online. HomePlaneur is born bringing a collection of furniture which is customisable and modern, entirely made in Italy, in the crucial centres of high quality furniture production.