HGTV, or Home and Garden Television, has taken the world by storm. In 2016, HGTV was the third most-watched cable network, just behind ESPN and Fox News. In fact, HGTV garnered more viewers that year than CNN and most other cable networks — 880,000 to be exact. Millennials, in particular, gravitate towards HGTV and this age group comprises about 55% of the network’s viewership. There’s no doubt that HGTV is society’s not-so-guilty pleasure, but what is it that makes the channel so enamoring? More importantly, how does HGTV’s approach to interior design change the game for designers, furniture retailers, and related industries? From a 3D room planner to augmented reality space designer, should you take a page out of the HGTV book? Let’s find out how a virtual room designer changed everything.
What’s So Great About HGTV Anyway?
Essentially, HGTV realizes the American dream. In the past, the importance of having a “good house” was impressed upon children and teenagers. It became a check-it-off-the-list goal that nearly everyone strived for. This is still very much the case. Having a “good house” is a big part of the “I made it” trifecta — along with getting a “good job” and having a loving family.
What makes a house a “good” one has changed over the years, but the core psychological reasons behind the desire remain the same. It’s difficult to imagine married couples arguing about divorce in a stunning open-plan kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Or, teenagers who spend eternity in their rooms when there’s a den with a big screen television and a wet bar for entertaining. Having a “good house” helps make families feel like they’ll avoid many of the challenges that plague other families. While this is certainly not true, it’s a largely harmless belief system held by the majority of Americans today. After all, how can a family fall apart when the living room design and layout are perfectly optimized for spending quality time together?
How HGTV Makes Dreams a Reality
HGTV has taken the American dream and deconstructed it into miniature procedural documentaries that always have a happy ending. The show is a highlight reel of how a couple or a family has completely renovated their average-looking space and made it look like it belongs on a magazine cover. However, the most enamoring part of the show isn’t the before and after — it’s the in-betweens. HGTV uses a 3D room planner and augmented reality to show viewers how a certain space could look. Then, it makes those concepts a reality.
Viewers get to see virtually reimagined rooms up close and personal. From simple flooring and paint color changes to deep renovations like removing walls and building new bathrooms or kitchens, the sky is truly the limit with augmented reality software. HGTV uses this software to plan a room’s transformation and makes good on the promise. Viewers are taken through the renovation journey, albeit in bits and pieces. The final product is usually a room that looks almost exactly like the 3D room planner picture.
This essentially creates a vision for viewers of what that “good house” looks like. Even more importantly, shows how people with “mediocre” or less desirable spaces can take what they have and transform it into what they’re looking for. For many consumers, they may love a home’s location but not the interior of the home. Since location cannot be changed but interiors can, HGTV sought to help. They created television shows that help viewers see how many different types of homes can be completely reimagined with thoughtful design and careful selection of furniture, artwork, and other home essentials.
Is HGTV Setting a New Standard?
HGTV’s use of augmented reality and 3D room planner software gives viewers knowledge of interior design that they didn’t have before. They watch as these tools give complete design control over a space. It’s not enough for today’s consumers to hire industry experts to do the design work for them. They now have the desire to be the designer themselves and shape their own realities. They want complete control over how something looks and feels, “dressing” their space much like one might dress for an important event. This mentality hasn’t stopped at transforming large spaces. Consumers want design control over everything, even down to the color of the armchair and the pattern on the sofa.
In the age of HGTV, consumers can literally watch dreams be realized. It’s not enough to inform them that a piece of furniture comes in two other colors (not pictured). They want to be able to see what those colors actually look like on the product. Going a step further, they also want to see what the product looks like in that color in their own space. Consumers know the tools exist, and they expect the same level of customization from furniture retailers as they browse.
How Furniture Retailers Can Keep Up
Fortunately, the high bar that HGTV has set is one that furniture retailers can reach with a little forward-thinking and an investment into newer technology. The 3D room planner software seen on home renovation shows isn’t a concept that is exclusive to shows on the HGTV network. Furniture retailers both large and small can use the same technology to improve customer experience. They can give consumers the design control they want at a granular level. Retailers should consider:
Standard product photography is used to digitally create a virtual replica of the product with astounding accuracy. Consumers can see more than the front of a product. They can also see the sides, back, and even the bottom for full visualization of what the product looks like.
Custom Product Draping
With custom product draping, consumers will have the ability to change what the virtual representation of the product looks like with the click of a button. Does the sectional they’re looking at also come in brown, taupe, and burgundy? Let them compare and contrast the colors by viewing the product in each exact shade it is available in.
There are two ways to present a 3D model of a product, one being pictures of each angle of the product. A more effective way to give consumers the information they need to make a buying decision is to give them control over how they view the product. 360 spin allows consumers to manipulate the virtual representation to view every angle of the product.
For retailers that offer custom furniture, why not give your potential customers the ability to design and build their own pieces? Specify what consumers have to choose from and let them build their own digitally accurate, 3D visual representations of sectionals, storage systems, or media centers? Then, your team has the specifications needed to create the product.
3D Room Planner
Do more than let consumers visualize a product. Let them visualize an entire space with 3D room planner technology. Allow them to select carpet and paint colors, artwork, plants, and other design elements along with their furniture. Being able to create a totally customized look helps increase their emotional investment in your products. It also nurtures them through the buyer’s journey.
Go one step beyond the 3D room planner and allow users to have complete design control over their own space. Users can use mobile devices to take photographs of their existing spaces. They can use augmented reality technology to renovate their own space in any way they choose. This means that instead of creating a virtual room that doesn’t exist, they can make virtual changes within the space they want to renovate. The technology goes beyond allowing consumers to change the way things look. It gives them tools that they need to make concrete plans. All measurements are accurate, meaning that consumers will know if the sofa they want is too large for their living room or if there’s too much space between pieces of furniture.
Bring Your A Game
To not only survive but thrive in the age of HGTV and virtual home renovations, furniture retailers must take the next step and meet consumer demand. Today’s consumers don’t simply prefer to have design control when shopping for furniture — they have come to expect it. Retailers that don’t offer 3D planning technology will find that they lose potential customers at an alarming rate to competitors. Although venturing out into the world of technology and online sales can be intimidating for smaller, brick-and-mortar furniture retailers, the consequences of not keeping up with changing technology are far too great to not take that step.
OmniVueXR is the future of 3D product visualization. It offers a wide range of applications for furniture retailers who want to take their customers’ shopping experiences to the next level. It allows you to give consumers more control than ever before over the design aspect of furniture shopping. This, in turn, leads to more satisfied customers and increased sales. Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about how to integrate 3D product visualization technology and augmented reality into your website.