No store, no problem: shifting from brick-and mortar shops to online virtual showroom
Shifting from brick-and mortar shops to online showroom
Even the most inventive and practical self-construction stores occasionally face a problem they cannot fix themselves. A compulsory temporary closing of business, for example. Over the course of the corona pandemic, the Sack Zelfbouw DIY stores were forced to shut all of their four showrooms. This had an immediate impact on turnover: sampling building materials up close is usually a crucial step in any self-build project. A rather difficult undertaking if showroom visits are rendered impossible…
Closing down and opening up again
The issue for Sack Zelfbouw was pressing. How to mitigate loss of revenue and shift to an online business model as soon as possible, while making a sustainable long-term digital investment? The challenge was to replicate an authentic showroom experience as closely as possible, including the opportunity for visitors to:
- Casually browse and become inspired by new building techniques and materials.
- Read expert info on all self-construction kits.
- Express any questions and concerns and receive a prompt reply.
In addition, Sack Zelfbouw was looking for a future-ready platform rather than a quick fix to mitigate temporary lockdown challenges. Easy content management and future additions of new products by the company’s own teams would be key.
Going on-site to map showrooms
The team set to work immediately to gather all practical and technical requirements for a fast delivery of Sack’s online showroom environment. While the photography team paid corona-proof visits to the company’s physical showrooms for the capturing of 360-degree photos, the technical team laid the foundation for a content management system (CMS) that would act as a platform basis for the virtual showroom.
Exceptional times call for exceptional measures. To speed up the go-live and maximize the window of opportunity for Sack, we decided to use a three-step approach, allowing room to add new features along the way. This would help to deliver a virtual shopping experience faster than any other competitor, leading to considerable competitive advantage.
- Stage 1: Development of virtual tour with a limited selection of images and logos.
Customers can browse the virtual showroom whilst a member of the sales team provides phone assistance.
- Stage 2: Website design and development for a fully-fledged virtual showroom experience.
- Stage 3: CMS integration for easy content editing by the Sack team.
On full display
The virtual tour brings all building materials so much closer. Sack’s virtual showroom turned from a pandemic necessity into a flagship experience that provides an entirely new sales channel. Labels provide additional info on all products on display, and cleverly implemented CTAs guide website visitors to get in touch with the sales team for additional assistance.