Hevolus Innovation: Pioneering Augmented Stores and Phygital Retail
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Antonio Squeo, CIO
Imagine walking into a retail furniture store and immediately finding the desired product that just happens to be the perfect fit. In addition, this advanced retail store is also able to provide the customer with instant customizability as well as an endless and unimaginable range of choices on the given product range.
As futuristic and astounding it sounds, the modern retail industry has come a long way in forging this imagination into reality by combining best retail consumer experiences with intelligent technologies.
One such amalgamation of retail and technology is the concept of the augmented retail space and mixed reality consumer experience powered by the augmented reality/virtual reality technology (AR/VR). Trending as a revolutionary game changer, this futuristic retail practice is believed to be the next-generational vogue for the modern consumers and for those in the future. Spearheading this revolution is Hevolus Innovation, a B2Bcompany specialized in creating physical customer experiences through innovative business models for the retail furniture industry and leveraging the true potential of AR/VR. Antonio Squeo, Hevolus Innovation CIO, says “Today, changing consumer dynamics have deeply transformed the relationship between customers and brands making it highly crucial to redesign each touch point along the customer journey to include the potential customers themselves.
At the same time, it’s essential that this transformation takes place ensuring three fundamental factors: cybersecurity, privacy, and ethics to build trust with the customer”. Citing the example of Natuzzi, one of the most important global players in the furniture industry, Squeo explains the intricacies of the Hevolus’ dexterity in action. Segmented into multiple touch points, Squeo elaborates Natuzzi customer journey as four stages: brand discovery, evaluation, selection, and purchase. In the first stage, as the customers enter the Natuzzi showroom, they are faced with the physical exhibition of products. Showcasing the customers a comprehensive set of product range physically can be a confusing and dissatisfactory endeavor rendering them clueless of various product aspects such as color, combination, and structure. Hevolus offers customers a fully augmented retail store and equips them with mixed reality headsets. Through these headsets, the customers are able to virtually explore their options across the physical exhibitions of the products scattered across the vastness of the Natuzzi store.
As the customer steps into the second stage: evaluating and choosing the right model within the augmented store. This provides them with the ability to effectively change the color, and customize their product according to their taste, texture and structure it in mixed reality, while gradually approaching the best solution.
Moving onto the selection process, Hevolus enables the retailer to co-create the entire design project along with the customer thanks to the use of 3D configurator. “The trust that is built through personalized offers, the involvement of the customer in the project and technological relevance determines the prospects of purchase.” The retailer then proceeds with the interior designing project, adding the customer’s favorite model, selecting the size and the composition and choosing color combinations and seams. In order to assure the complete comprehension and confidence of the customer in the product design and its aesthetic value, Hevolus allows the retailer to showcase their customers a 3D model of the bespoke project in the most natural way through the help of Microsoft HoloLens.
The final stage of purchase is made to offer the customers a seamless checkout experience along with a 360-degree rendering that allows them to browse through their project design by touching the screen and looking through a VR headset and take the model home to showcase it to their family and friends. “The Natuzzi Augmented Store developed by Hevolus Innovation has become an international success story; Satya Nadella, Microsoft's global CEO, talked about it at Microsoft Innovation Summit 2019 as one of the best examples of digital transformation” concludes Squeo.