Home improvement might simply mean replacing a light bulb to some of us, but as an industry, it is projected to bring in over $409 billion in 2019 in the US alone.
And be it in fashion or IT, healthcare or energy, education or property, positive customer experience plays a role in influencing value perception and brand loyalty.
Here we look at 4 ways customer experience technology and strategies are changing up the home improvement industry.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) software is helping customers visualize home improvements more realistically than mere pictures ever could. Countertop maker Cambria, for instance, makes it possible to envisage how a type of surface would look like in a kitchen with the use of a point-and-scan app.
VR and AR are also useful for those who want to sell or lease out their homes. For example, real estate websites like Realtor.com offer virtual walkthroughs of houses and augmented street tours.
Mobile apps focused on culture and tradition
Feng shui remains relevant around the world, driving property purchase decisions in the US and at global property auctions. When ignored, it can also discourage would-be home buyers, as researchers in Taiwan found.
In an interview for this article, Jenny Ng, founder of Singapore-based Fengshui Connection Consultancy Services, noted that feng shui principles are sometimes overlooked by property developers in favor of commercial interests. “Feng shui is not a myth or superstition. You don’t have to buy things and place them in your home expecting miracles to happen.”
Interior designers can team up with feng shui experts or help customers by using apps. Feng Shui Compass, for example, is an app that helps users determine the ‘lucky direction’ for their house, rooms, or home office based on their lunar birth year.
Mobile apps that solve specific problems
One of the most frustrating experiences in home design is choosing a paint color, only to find out it looks a few shades different once applied to a wall.
Paint-maker Valspar helps solve this customer problem with an app that helps users choose colors and estimate the amount of paint needed for a project. They can also upload a photo, and get advice from a color expert via live video.
Several other apps let customers snap or upload a photo, get its color code or name, and paint the color on virtual walls.
Smart home systems
By giving users the ability to connect and control various home appliances based on rules and workflows, home automation systems and smart home assistants promise to make domestic life a whole lot easier. A survey by Support.com revealed, though, that the complexity of installing and configuring smart home systems turns off potential customers. In such situations, face-to-face interaction and personalized advice can help customers get past the hurdle.
Amazon, for instance, offers a smart home consultation service where an expert visits a potential customer’s home to assess smart home application. The expert then proposes home automation and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, and demonstrates how to use certain commands.