I never knew shopping for furniture could be so… futuristic. What with pulling virtual furniture from thin air and placing them wherever and however I want in a digital environment. Or even trying out furniture in your own home via AR before making a purchase.
This could very well be the future of furniture shopping and Commune’s at the forefront of it. If building and furnishing a house in The Sims had a VR feature, this is exactly what it would be.
The homegrown furniture design and lifestyle brand is revolutionising the retail furniture landscape with its Commune: In Motion. An intelligent, cloud-based, omnichannel retail solution that’s shaking up the furniture shopping experience for the better. If this is how it’s going to be like in the future when shopping for furniture, I’ll never be bored again.
A virtual shopping experience right at home, literally
I was invited down to one of Commune’s four branches at Milennia Walk, to try out their VR services and Maltin, an analyst developer for Commune, kindly walked me through the entire process.
Contrary to what I thought, it was a very straightforward and simple process. Their VR and 3D space planner programme would layout the shape and design of your house with a provided floorplan. Once that’s in place, you can place virtual shelves and sofas from their catalogue around your house before donning on the VR gear to see how the furniture “feels” in the digital recreation of your home.
For the purpose of demonstration, they mocked up a simple, furnished living room for me.
The whole thing took lesser time than I thought, just under ten minutes. I’d imagine recreating a typical 4-room HDB house complete with furniture would take them probably less than 45 mins.
So then I took a “walk” around my new living room and got a nice sense of how the furniture might feel in it. I was actually quite surprised at what Commune was able to do with VR and found myself exclaiming to Maltin, “woah, you can do that?” more times than I could remember. In my virtual living room, I could bend down to see what the furniture looked on the underside and if I wanted to, they could even have light fall in from the window so I can see how it’ll affect the look of my furniture. Impressive.
The great thing about this is that Commune could have this entire process ready even before the customer visits. Complete with the customer’s preferred furnishing so from the get-go, customers have a starting point once they arrive.
This VR experience was merely a taste of Commune can offer customers with its omnichannel furniture shopping experience.
A seamless online to offline shopping experience
Naysayers may argue there’s nothing like shopping for furniture in-person and they’re right, there isn’t. But Commune’s system isn’t looking to replace brick-and-mortar stores or run IDs into the ground. They’re just streamlining furniture shopping into a single and seamless process. With Commune: In Motion, they’re leveraging on data from customers’ browsing behaviour and translating that into smart and tailored recommendations on their website and app.
This system will only further complement and add-value to Commune’s experiential shopping experience. When I was spoke to Maltin, he painted me the ideal landscape for Commune: In Motion. One where from start to end, from offline to online, the furniture retail experience is entirely seamless. Where AR and VR will perfectly meld with the physical in-store experience — a merging of online and offline into a cohesive and seamless whole.
Our writers helping to visualise what the furniture will look like in our office using Commune’s mobile AR app
Imagine being presented with smart furniture recommendations based on your browsing preference and using AR to visualise it right in your own house. Or if you’re waiting on your new home and having your future house rendered into a perfect 3D digital environment complete with furnishings tailored to your tastes, ready for you to explore once you step into the store. This is Commune: In Motion. This is the future of furniture retail. And I’m excited for it.