People in Bangladesh can now check out every detail of furniture and purchase it online as Hatil has come up with a virtual reality showroom.
The online store—Hatil V—will enable people to experience 360-degree views of furniture through mobile virtual reality (VR) headsets and order it online.
Hatil has introduced such a showroom at the Dhaka trade fair and showcased all of its 800 products, which are also visible through augmented reality (AR) glasses.
State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak launched the VR and AR views of Hatil's products yesterday. Through this service, customers on a virtual journey will get to see each and every detail of Hatil's furniture in a simulated room environment, said Selim H Rahman, the company's managing director.
“On top of that, customers can also change the wood and fabric colour of the furniture as per their choice and compare them side by side.”
Hatil has done it as part of efforts to gradually replace its traditional sales stores and cut operational expenses to a great extent, he told The Daily Star yesterday.
A virtual showroom will help save the company around Tk 1.5 lakh a month, which Hatil has to spend to rent a 3,000 square feet space to open its smallest display store, he said.
The vendors will also prefer using the state-of-the-art technology now and lose their interest to display products on traditional physical showrooms, he said.
The country has started gaining momentum from digitisation and the virtual showroom for furniture is a part of that, he said.
People are now more familiar with buying products online and even from Facebook-based market places, he said. “That's what has prompted Hatil to introduce something like this.”
Hatil, one of the country's largest furniture brands, is now working on it and wants to replace some of its 24 physical showrooms in the capital with the virtual ones in three months, Rahman said.
“Hatil will open more virtual showrooms across the country gradually.”
People placed 30 orders through the virtual store in the first eight days of the trade fair, said Dewan Atif Rashid, business development adviser to Hatil.
“We are taking customers' feedback and compiling all of their ideas and opinions so that we can upgrade our virtual showroom.”
The furniture brand also demonstrated the virtual showroom concept in one of its distributors' meeting. The company's distributors in India showed interest in using the technology there.
After Dhaka, Hatil will introduce this kind of showroom in Chittagong and then will go for overseas markets, including Canada, Australia, Bhutan and Nepal, where the company has operations, Rahman said.
“This is the first-of-its-kind service in the subcontinent and we have no idea whether this kind of service exists anywhere in the world or not.”
Auleek Ltd, a local technology firm, has developed the solution for Hatil after conducting research for one year.