Most of my purchases in the past year until today have been bought online, contributing – albeit modestly – to the multi-billion-dollar e-commerce market here in the Philippines. Despite the availability of this option across a variety of products, there are still a few things I refuse to buy online without physically seeing them first.
Appliances. Especially big ones.
A survey conducted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development found a 7 percent increase in online purchases of home furniture and household products in emerging economies last year. Statista’s Furniture and Appliance E-commerce Report in 2020, meanwhile, projects online sales of this segment will comprise 3 percent of its total market revenue by 2023.
While availability and accessibility is not an issue – what with more brands, retail channels, and e-commerce platforms enabling easy-peasy appliance shopping – my personal concern is just being able to see and imagine the product at work and in its place prior to purchase. Seeing how it would look like in the kitchen.
To break the barrier between online and offline shopping experience, a virtual version of the newly renovated Makati showroom of premium refrigerator and cooking equipment brands Sub-Zero and Wolf is now accessible to Filipinos.
Redesigned by Architect Anna Sy, managing director of CS Design Consultancy, Inc., the physical showroom of the American appliance brands boasts an ample space and luxurious look with its high-ceiling, easy-on-the-eyes palette, and polished finishes.
“Its well-planned layout has made it easier for clients to imagine how these appliances would fit into their kitchens. The showroom’s light and bright design allows the luxurious finishes of the products to shine,” Focus Global said in a statement.
“We finished renovating the showroom a few months earlier, but because of the pandemic we weren’t able to launch it,” related Stephen Sy, president and chief executive of Focus Global.
In light of the current situation, the brands recreated the experience virtually. Launched last year, the 360-degree virtual showroom features the new design of the Makati showroom, thereby allowing clients to step into the space as if they were truly there, and navigate the area.
According to Focus Global, Sub-Zero and Wolf are the first appliance brands in the country to introduce an enhanced digital customer journey in the market, offering “truly digital and convenient experience from beginning to end”, shared executive vice president Loli Sy.
Along with the convenience of seeing all the displays, visitors to the virtual showroom can click and drag through the interface to explore its different areas, click on the tags to read product descriptions or go directly to the brands’ official website, inspect some of the units closer (e.g. virtually open a Sub-Zero fridge), measure the appliances using the ruler tool, and share the link of the specific corner of the showroom to their designers or to family and friends.
Focus Global also offers a guided virtual tour where sales designers can assist customers and give more information about each product as they go around the tour via video call. Set up an appointment with the brands’ online booking site.
The showroom is open Monday to Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at The Residences at Greenbelt, Manila Tower, Esperanza Street, Makati City. The virtual showroom is accessible through bit.ly/SZWFRez2virtualshowroom.
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