The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the temporary closure of many stores and showrooms, forcing companies to look for innovative solutions to continue promoting and selling their products. Among them, Frette, an Italian company in the high-end textile sector, relied on AnotheReality to create a virtual showroom capable of presenting the new Spring/Summer 2021 collection to potential buyers.
Frette: an Italian luxury textile company
Founded in 1860, Frette is a leading luxury textile company, known worldwide for the quality of its products. Frette’s linens embellish the rooms of the world’s most prestigious hotels and the most sought-after private rooms. The assortment of items offered ranges from bed and bath linens to furnishing accessories, all characterized by refined design and fine materials.
The challenge: presentation of the new Spring/Summer 2021 collection
Due to health restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 Frette was faced with the difficulty of organizing classic meetings with buyers for the presentation of the new Spring/Summer 2021 collection. Therefore, it was necessary to find an alternative solution that could overcome these limitations and ensure successful sales to B2B buyers.
The virtual showroom: features and functionality
AnotheReality developed a virtual showroom for Frette that faithfully reproduces the environment of Via Manzoni in Milan, set up with all the products of the new collection. Customers were thus able to explore this digital space, immersing themselves freely and remotely inside a 360-degree video and also viewing the products and their features in detail, thanks to interactive photographic experience. The virtual tour was also integrated with an e-commerce, to facilitate the sales process and support the sales cycle.
The role of technology in user experience
The virtual showroom is inspired by the museum approach to offer a simple, intuitive, and fulfilling visitor experience, but most importantly, without barriers. Thanks to technology, Frette opened its doors wide to its customers, even at times when it seemed impossible to do so. Users were able to visit the Milan showroom from anywhere in the world, 24/7, moving with simple mouse clicks, turning their eyes in every direction, and getting in-depth information about the products they were interested in.
By interacting with the virtual hotspots, buyers could get a details on the features of the products, accompanied live by a Frette salesperson who, as one would in an in person meeting, illustrated the specifications, answered questions, and managed the negotiation.
Achievements and benefits for the company
Despite the difficulties imposed by the pandemic, Frette managed to achieve incredible results in 2020. Thanks to the AnotheReality project, the volume of sales compared to 2019 was 93 percent, while the average visit time was about 2.5 hours, and the number of appointments with buyers was 30. This experience represents an opportunity for the future of the luxury textile sector and in general for all sectors that cater to a B2B audience, which could continue to exploit the potential of virtual showrooms even in a post-pandemic context.
The collaboration between Frette and AnotheReality has resulted in a cutting-edge project that combines the tradition and elegance of Made in Italy with the most modern and innovative digital technologies, which are also Italian. It is, moreover, an example of success in meeting market challenges through innovation. The virtual showroom has proven to be an effective solution for the luxury textile sector, allowing products to be presented and sold even at a difficult time such as that of 2020-2021. The potential of this technology for the future of B2B sales is considerable, offering new opportunities for companies wishing to expand their market and reach customers around the world.
A simple but effective design: 360-degree environments connected via hotspot, to visit the two floors of the showroom freely and explore the new collection, also available from a convenient catalog, accessible from the website interface.
For Frette’s Digital Showroom, the choice was made to rely on technologies usable by anyone, using a normal computer, thus avoiding wearable virtual reality devices, which would have increased immersiveness and surprise effect, but at the same time would have limited the reach in terms of audience. Audiences that, in this case, were B2B buyers of the well-known luxury brand.