Azione Unlimited Launches Custom VR Showrooms For Members
The long-awaited announcement of Azione Unlimited's virtual reality showroom has finally materialized and the results are ready to change the industry. It seems like just a short seven months ago when Richard Glikes was getting an informal show of hands if they wanted to capitalize on Tim Costello's pitch.
Costello, the CEO of Builders Homesite Inc. Costello works with the biggest builders and architecture firms across the nation to create virtual homes that are fully customizable based on end users’ tastes and preferences. From floor materials to specific soffit lighting styles, Costello and his team empower users to get precisely what they want, giving his clients a tremendous advantage over their competition.
“[Richard] said we need to do something different, we are technology leaders,” Costello said at the Veridic Vistas conference in Las Vegas. “The challenge is that small companies, with limited budgets, want to show that they are technology elitist. But how can you be that and come across as a firm that isn’t technically savvy?”
“I think there’s an opportunity here to change the sales process, immerse the customer in the lifestyle that moves in real time around them,” Costello added.
Fast forward to this year's Sagacious Summit in San Antonio, and members were once again in awe of Costello's project, as he navigated the virtual home effortlessly switching different electronics including TV's, lights, screens, and projectors. The idea is to create a tour for possible clients to see different brands and models in action, specifically tailored to whatever they may desire.
The current base model already contains 100 products from 30 companies, all easily managed by Costello and his team.
“The Azione Virtual Reality (VR) Showroom platform gives dealers the option to customize as many details of the demo as they want, from different scenes within the home down to the specific products deployed,” says Azione President Richard Glikes. “We can even customize the screens within the VR environment to play a video promoting the dealer’s services and brand, which users can play upon entering a room. It’s quite exceptional.”
The backbone of Costello's project is VR, but the secret sauce is flexibility. Ranging from full blown interaction on VR platforms (Oculus, Samsung) to pre-made videos with to intentionally spotlight different tech, there is a wide variety of uses that all play to the advantage of Azione members.
With the dealer’s guidance, consumers can “walk through” the virtual home and interact with the different components, and then choose to view a pop-up information panel that describes the product’s features. The highly tactile, interactive experience gives the consumer an idea of the various options available and the functionality of different products and, more importantly, helps the consumer visualize the end result in their own home.
Many Azione dealers do have a showroom with speakers, screens, security equipment, and a control system, but it’s often hard to imagine the separate components within a whole home environment. Additionally, static, real-world showrooms don’t usually give dealers the option to switch out equipment for demos. Being able to have the client experience the look and feel of certain products in a home environment can help dealers upsell to a better class of products, resulting in greater profit margins for the dealer.
As always, the success of a traditional brick and mortar showroom demo is contingent on getting the client through the door in the first place. “For many dealers, adding a VR showroom is a unique step up that really differentiates their brand (and ours),” says Glikes. “Azione is growing and our members are evolving. Adding services like this—and being the first ones to do so—make it far easier for customers to experience technology before they buy, which increases the likelihood they will purchase what dealers recommend.”
Azione Unlimited first introduced the VR Showroom concept at its Fall Conference in a presentation by Tim Costello of BDX, the company that developed the software. During the Spring Conference, Costello and Glikes unveiled the Azione Unlimited VR Showroom and described the capabilities, detailing specifics during a launch webinar held in May. Several Azione members have already deployed the software and in the months to come, Azione will share details of their success and how the offering has enhanced their company’s profile.