Product Owner Tom Hides takes us through the solution’s unique capabilities and how it can help address the challenges facing kitchen retailers today.

Tell us about your role at HomeByMe and what initially attracted you to join the brand?


My main focus as Product Owner for the HomeByMe for Kitchen Retailers 3D planning solution is shaping the short- and long-term visions of what we want to achieve and identifying the features and functionality required to get us there, working alongside my team of talented co-workers.


On an ongoing basis, I work to assess the trends of today to anticipate the trends of tomorrow. This is essential to keep the solution ahead of the curve and allows me to effectively prioritize new features and functionality in line with market demand and competition. I regularly attend industry events, such as the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, to understand the pain points and goals of kitchen retailers and their customers, and to ensure the solution constantly evolves to meet their requirements. I also work very closely with our existing clients to collate in-depth feedback that we can factor into the product development roadmap.


I joined HomeByMe predominantly because I relished the challenge of working on an innovative customer-facing solution that addressed real-life issues, delivering success for our customers. I previously worked for a leading kitchen retailer, which I definitely think has helped me to shape the product by factoring in the user’s perspective.


How would you describe the HomeByMe for Kitchen Retailers solution in a single sentence and what value does the solution offer to retailers and their customers?


Simply put, HomeByMe for Kitchen Retailers is an easy-to-use 3D planning solution that allows consumers to create, personalize and visualize the kitchen of their dreams, while simultaneously accelerating the sales cycle by producing sales-ready projects.


Essentially, the solution is built around the needs of the end customer, meaning it is user friendly and delivers high-value functionality to consumers during their kitchen design planning process. Typically, within 10 minutes a consumer can create a usable kitchen that exactly fits their space, with automated business rules in place to ensure it is compliant with local regulations, space availability, and so on. This speed and autonomy means that we can slash the sales cycle, which not only benefits the kitchen retailer but also the consumer.


What do you find most exciting about your role in 3D planning and the kitchen retail sector?


I wholeheartedly believe that 3D is the best method of visualization and an extremely powerful tool when building a kitchen design from scratch. The market currently lacks depth when it comes to customer-facing online 3D solutions. My role is centered around using the technology we have built to captivate and inspire the end user, which I find particularly exciting, constantly working to debunk the myth that consumers need to sit down on their day off with a specialist that has 20 years of experience – there is often a ‘wow effect’ when consumers discover HomeByMe for Kitchen Retailers for the first time and see how easy the process can be.


Kitchens in particular are a great example of taking what was traditionally an incredibly complex room to design, with a whole range of regulations to consider, then making it accessible to anyone through a simple and easy to use solution.


As Product Owner, how do you interact and work with your team and other areas of the HomeByMe brand?


I regularly liaise with all areas of the business, including our sales, marketing and development teams, to ensure we remain aligned on our company vision at Dassault Systèmes. While a smaller brand within the group, we certainly punch above our weight when we look at what we have achieved with the solution so far and how quickly we have been able to adapt based on the feedback we have received.


In terms of my more immediate team, we employ an agile scrum methodology whereby we have extremely short sprint cycles for new features. As a team, we work together to take on board customer feedback or comments and implement solutions or fixes at lightning speed. By regularly engaging with the wider team at HomeByMe, we can be as proactive as possible with new developments and we really enjoy the end of sprints when we can demonstrate the value of new features both internally and to customers.


What would your advice be to a kitchen retailer looking to capitalize on market growth opportunities?


I think there is still a way to go when it comes to kitchen retailers effectively engaging their customers. Technology is the key to solving that and insights gleaned from big data allow kitchen retailers to ensure relevancy in terms of product offerings, brand messaging and customer communications. Consumers also place huge value on functionality that gives them much clearer visual plans for their kitchen designs, alongside pricing that is transparent – kitchen retailers that can provide this can build up trust and deepen relationships with their customers, elevating them from transaction processors to full service providers.


My advice would ultimately be to leverage ready made technology solutions, such as the HomeByMe for Kitchen Retailers 3D planning solution, that offer a fast time-to-value and focus on putting trust into customer decisions online. Consumers are more likely to buy cars online without having seen them in person than they are kitchens and that is because the consumer is given all they need visually to have complete faith in their decision. We need to apply that confidence to buying kitchens. As it stands, kitchen retail lags behind other sectors when it comes to e-commerce adoption and kitchen retailers need to embrace innovative ways to reassure their customers and remove that feeling of risk that stops them from hitting buy on a £10,000 kitchen they have planned and created online. I think there is a whole world of opportunity for kitchen retailers in e-commerce if they can implement the right solutions.

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