KBB - January 2015 - (Page 16)

TECH SAVVY Going Mobile Entrepreneurs' innovative design apps Claiming that the Internet is the consumers' frontier of choice is an understatement. Clients are spending vast amounts of time researching, prioritizing, budgeting and ultimately purchasing goods and services online, and it's encouraging to note that more design and furniture companies are staking their claim. But with the speed in which consumerbuying behavior is changing, there is always the challenge to continually discover new ways to harness innovation and sell. For some that means going mobile. "The combined revenues from mobile applications, services and business management will reach $54.6 billion a year by 2015," according to Forrester Research analyst John C. McCarthy in The New York Times. Entrepreneur's "4 Reasons Your Startup Needs to Launch a Mobile App Now" projects that mobile subscriptions will hit 9.3 billion in 2019. That means more small to mid-size businesses will be getting in on the action. Looking at these staggering numbers tells us that although investing in mobile may seem a bit overreaching for some, it may also be the one investment you cannot afford not to make. Proponents of developing a mobile platform will tell you that apps broaden their customer demographics, build engagement and promote products and services. With that in mind, we've interviewed four innovative design entrepreneurs - all small business owners - who've ventured into mobile and are successfully driving their businesses forward. Tiffany Wilson, creator of RoomHints How it works: Snap a picture of a room on your phone, type in an item you would like to add or replace - for instance, "dining table." RoomHints then uses an advanced algorithm to give you five options in the style you'd like updated or changed. Simply hit "buy" or "save" if you like any of the options shown. Don't like the first set of product offerings? Search for five new options and so on until you've landed on the one you want. You can also ask a RoomHints design pro to help finalize your room design. website and translate it to a mobile app. This is similar to recording a radio show and putting it on a TV show. Understand the native features of mobile and build the app based on these benefits that mobile enables. What is the most rewarding part about having a mobile app business? Wilson: The ability to reach global scale. Each day on RoomHints.com we see thousands of rooms being uploaded from all around the world. We have built a platform that for example, allows a designer in New York to give design advice to a user in Saudi Arabia - now that in my mind is awesome! For more info: www.roomhints.com Twitter: @roomhints Facebook: roomhint Pinterest: roomhints Kevin Litt, COO of Adornably How it works: Adornably lets you replace or add furniture in any space to create a design look and feel you want. Place an object - like a magazine - where you want to add a piece of furniture to a room. The magazine helps scale any furniture you'll be adding. Take a photo, then choose from a selection of furnishings from within the app, moving the object within the app and around the room to help personalize the home design experience. What do you think has been the most disruptive shift in the design industry in the past five years? Litt: Disruption is a big buzzword today, but I prefer to call it innovation. I believe we're in the midst of the most dynamic shift our industry has ever witnessed. We've seen a complete shift away from retail as we know it, and new entrants have been able to take over a market in record time. I believe the changes that will take place over the next decade (production, logistics, marketing and distribution) might be more disruptive than those over the past 10 years. Do you think our contemporaries in the furniture and design industry understand the extent of what has happened? Wilson: I was working as an interior designer in New York and found that every time I would go out for dinner or to an event, people would ask, "How should I design my space?" "Do you know of a good coffee table that would work for my living room," etc. I realized that a mobile application would be perfect to help solve this problem. They can upload a photo of their room and chat with a designer any time of day. So we built RoomHints. The user uploads a photo of their room, finds and saves products that work and can hire an interior designer to finalize the look - in one app. Litt: I think as a whole, the design industry has done a poor job of reacting to systemic changes in the market. There are many execs reacting, but it's hard to move quickly in this business given legacy concerns. Unfortunately, it's not an enviable position to be in - knowing you must make changes to survive - but the transition is going to make a lot of people very upset. As one CEO put it years ago to me, "We'll see what happens with this Internet." He believed deep in his heart there was no way home furnishings would be sold online. There is no way to go back and take digital distribution away, nor would we ever want to, but we should not forget that consumers still love an experience, and those who are able to provide an enjoyable experience and add value will continue to find success. Any advice for those of us who are thinking of creating an app? What can the industry learn from Silicon Valley? Wilson: Keep it simple. The best apps have one benefit that they provide for their users. Do not simply take the content that is existing on your Litt: What I've been most impressed with is tech companies' ability to pivot. In new technology, pivots are expected and allow companies Why did you decide to create a mobile app for the industry? 16 + K BB January 2015 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com http://www.RoomHints.com http://www.roomhints.com http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - January 2015

Contents
Online Contents
Editor’s Note
Show Director’s Note
People & Places
Dealer Dish
Tech Savvy
Business Practice
Sustainable Design
Universal Design
Solutions
Favorites
Before and After
Industry Outlook
KBIS 2015 and Design & Construction Week
Trends
Products
Design
Living Joyfully
Bittersweet Symphony
The Glamorous Life
New Lines, New Look
Learning Corner
Last Word

KBB - January 2015

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