EQ3 partnership lets you virtually furnish your apartment – Winnipeg Free Press
Soon you will be able to virtually furnish your empty apartment with the click of a mouse.
“Our goal is to connect with just about anyone in Canada looking for a condo or apartment,” said Dan Gange, director of e-commerce for EQ3, a furniture company based in in Winnipeg.
The brand is the latest to venture into commerce in virtual and augmented reality, or v-commerce. It has partnered with Gryd, a real estate technology company, to showcase its products.
Prospective tenants may find themselves taking one of Gryd’s 3D property tours, “walking” through the residences.
Gryd takes thousands of photos with 3D mapping cameras and stitches them together to create virtual spaces. The technology company’s clients include Oxford Properties and Towers Realty Group.
Gryd digitally loads furniture into apartments so they look ready to move in.
“We have received many inquiries from tenants across North America who have signed leases,” said Josh Glow, Gryd’s General Manager. “They were reaching out and saying, ‘I really want to buy this couch. “”
One problem – the furniture shown was unbranded, sometimes created virtually by Gryd.
“I thought, ‘It would be great if it was actually real furniture that they could just click on a link and buy,'” Glow said.
So he called EQ3. He knew Ganges, and the maker is known internationally, which makes them desirable for Gryd.
The year-long partnership resulted in the launch of two initiatives. First, some online property tours created by Gryd will include EQ3 furniture.
People browsing the bedrooms and dining rooms can click on the items they like and they will be directed to the EQ3 website.
Second, Gryd created Space Designer, which converts 2D floor plans and virtual tours into 3D models. Users can drag and drop EQ3 furniture into the floor plan and view it in 3D.
“Right now for retailers, I think (virtual and augmented reality) is becoming table stakes,” Gange said. “Everything in your online store… needs to be much more precise and realistic in relation to customer expectations.”
The new projects benefit many, said Glow and Gange. Homeowners don’t have to invest time and money to furnish spaces, while tenants can find furnishing ideas and easy access to furniture.
Space Designer, which is marketed to property owners and property managers, takes the guesswork out of furniture placement, Glow said.
“This is the start,” he added.
Home accessories to buy could be added to online apartment tours. Other projects involving augmented reality are in the works, Glow said.
“We have the potential here to be one of the largest apartment furniture showrooms in the country, virtually,” he said.
Gryd’s 3D tours have surpassed 50 million impressions to date, Glow said. He declined to comment on how many impressions he thinks EQ3 furniture will receive, saying the company does not yet know how the project will pan out.
EQ3 has been investing in digital files since 2019, Gange said.
The company virtually created its furniture and different fabrics, leathers and styles for customization, in partnership with the product visualization platform Cylindo. Customers can make their own furniture online.
“We’re able to see what value… (online tools) can bring to our customers, and how much more people are more likely to buy when they use them,” Gange said.
In-person sales are still EQ3’s main source of revenue – “we can’t get away from what it feels like to sit on an amazing sofa,” Gange said – but the company plans to continue virtual experiences.
“If you had a (virtual reality) space, being able to furnish it with EQ3 furniture would be pretty cool,” Gange said.
Augmented reality marketing isn’t new, said University of Manitoba business professor Sandeep Arora.
“I see more and more companies latching onto it,” he said.
People can place glasses on photos of their face, checking the fit before buying online. IKEA launched Kreativ, a program currently unavailable in Canada where app users can place furniture in a replica of their bedroom after scanning it, Arora noted.
“I can only see this as growth and increasing popularity,” he said.
Still, it will take a leap from augmented reality marketing to selling into a metaverse, a virtual reality parallel to the physical world, he said.
Partnerships like EQ3 and Gryd’s have yet to penetrate Manitoba’s online real estate market, noted Akash Bedi, chair of the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board.
“If it’s something that fits our regulations, it’s something that could definitely be explored,” Bedi said.
Space Designer is available on Gryd’s website.
Gabby is a huge fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.
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