City Furniture, the biggest and fastest growing furniture in Florida, is revealing a project they started in 2018: a visualization project utilizing 3D and AR on their e-commerce website. HomeByMe is taking the opportunity to pull back the curtain on our partnership that brought City Furniture’s vision to life.
City Furniture is a leading Florida-based furniture retailer. It started as “Waterbed City” in the 1970s, became City Furniture in the 1990s, and is now positionned as a multi-location leader in Florida. The brand offers expansive variety of home furnishings to inspire any customer. From the living room to the dining room, out to the patio, mattresses, bedrooms, kids, or even accessories: a outstanding selection of products to create a unique home, at an affordable price.
City Furniture aims at inspired and connected customers. Its values are supported by dynamic management, that is focused on innovation. Andrew Koenig, President and son of the founder, has made technology a priority. Andrew joined City Furniture in 2006 as an intern, and he has brought a deep desire to modernize the company. In his constant search for providing customers with the best experience, he has transformed City Furniture into a highly innovative brand.
At CITY Furniture, we are extremely tech-forward. We’re constantly on the lookout for emerging, best in class technology that will improve our business and our customers’ experience with the brand. We have been watching the trends in 3D modeling for several years, and we spent over a year researching different companies to bring this feature to life on the CITY Furniture website. Partnering with INSPI [now HomeByMe] was a great choice for our business, and we have seen immense value in our partnership throughout this process.
Brendon Barnes, Digital Assets and 3D production manager, has been with the company for 18 years now. He has worked in operations, customer satisfaction and marketing. Brendon offered to tell us more about City Furniture’s strategy, and the role of 3D on its website.
City Furniture mostly targets young professionals between 25 and 40 years old. Modern looking and affordable products, those are the key words of the brand. Originally from Southeast Florida, City Furniture focused its sales in the tri-county area of Miami-Dade, Broward and West Palm Beach. Since then, the company has grown exponentially and focused on expanding in South-West and Central Florida. Florida being very diverse, City Furniture made the choice to carefully study the markets, adapt and expand its operations strategically.
3D had been a recurring topic for some time. With the desire to create a better customer experience, and always looking to innovate, City dove into visualization in late 2018
“The driving force behind this was to create a better customer experience as best we could. One of the ways we decided to do that was to go down the 3Droute. We’ve partnered with INSPI [now HomeByMe] for about 3 years now to model our entire catalog” explains Brendon. Today, City Furniture’s website has 5,000 products modeled in 3D, or over 75% of its catalog. Visible from every angle, they can also be viewed in augmented reality with the “View at Home” feature, in real time, directly into the user’s interior.
Our relationship has evolved since then, it’s not so much as strictly work as this is a relationship. We have grown with INSPI [now HomeByMe], who’s been able to adapt and evolve with us, make and propose changes in order to better leverage our models.
Beyond being a way of engaging and satisfying the consumer, 3D is also an efficient and affordable production tool. When people working for the photo studio are asked, they see the benefits of using 3D versus traditional photography. “In a program like that, it would take months, I would say probably 3 to 4 months of working on that. In 3D, we’re able to do it in less than a month. This is what we were looking for, it’s a huge productivity boost for City Furniture.” says Brendon.
To work on a catalog that large, it was necessary to shoot 50 colors per SKU, on about 12 different sofas, which proved to be very complicated logistically, let alone the cost of such operation. In the end, HomeByMe and the 3D team at City Furniture partnered and did all the collection, in all 50 colors in a record time! Another proof that 3D can be a real time saver, money saver and facilitate production.
When talking about 3D for sales, Brendon says "To streamline the sales process, I see a lot of benefits to 3D. The customer can see the product, they can purchase it, there’s less point of contact needed in the purchase. I think it definitely is, or will be, one of the pillars of the customer experience."
And although our partnership is about to celebrate its 3rd birthday, City Furniture has a lot of ideas for 3D in the future! "As a company, we like our customers to understand how products will fit into their homes", Brendon explains. The retailer’s goal is now to go further, for example by creating environmental shots, something that can be particularly complicated to achieve in a studio, especially when creating outdoor scenes. The next step would be room planning, to allow a client to completely shape an interior the way they want, by visualizing exactly what it will look like.
And since the reward for all these efforts are still the enthusiastic opinions of consumers, here is a testimonial collected on a post-purchase survey following the use of 3D and Augmented Reality: "We really appreciate the design and the feature that allows us to see a table in our room. It helped in making a decision."
Thank you Brendon for giving us some of your time, we’re thrilled to continue this exciting collaboration with such an involved partner as City Furniture!
They talk about our partnership :