Revolutionizing Furniture Retail using Virtual Reality

Revolutionizing Furniture Retail

Hatil, Bangladesh’s largest furniture brand was facing a challenge with increasing rent costs of retail spaces. Especially in city centers, where the majority of Hatil’s customers prefer shopping, Hatil was not being able to display their full range of furniture. At any given point Hatil has an inventory close to 1000. And if you add fabric and accessories varieties, then there is literally thousands of options for customers.

Auleek partnered up with Hatil’s business development partner DTC in the beginning of 2017. And started working closely with Hatil from the middle of 2017. Using Unity, we designed and developed a ‘Virtual Store’ solution, which was essentially a store inside a store (image above). Hatil started setting up large screens (through projectors, TV screens etc) inside of their stores. On these screens, customers can browse through Hatil’s entire range of furniture with all its variations in full interactive 3D and virtual reality.

Customers have the ability to change fabric and material combination of a furniture. They can browse through the full collection of Hatil in highly detailed 3D. Customers also have the opportunity to see a furniture up close with Virtual Reality.

Quite often, customers come to Hatil stores with their room/apartment layouts, looking for the best suggestions for their interiors. So we built a ‘Room Planner’ tool where sales agents can quickly replicate the customers’ rooms and pick the best furniture combination for it. The ‘Room Planner’ has the ability to create different types and sizes of rooms, customise walls, floors, put in doors, windows, accessories etc. Once created, the room is also available to view in virtual reality.

This software ecosystem also contains an easy-to-use backend for Hatil designers. They can use the ‘Designer Toolkit’ to select fabric combinations for their furniture. They can also design the furniture sets that customers can see inside of the ‘Gallery’ space in the Virtual Store. 

The Virtual Store is currently running in 10+ stores in Bangladesh and India. In some stores, up to 50% of monthly sales are happening just through this setup. This is enabling the brand to save money on their retail space, yet provide the customers with a wider range of options to make a more informed decision.

With the success of the first 10 pilots, Hatil is now preparing to scale up. The objective is to have 100 of these setups in place by the end of 2021.