When the global pandemic shuttered Herman Miller’s London showroom last year, the company needed an innovative way to provide people with access to its spaces regardless of physical proximity. Matterport’s 3D virtual tours were a perfect solution to a complicated problem that enhanced the overall digital experience for a broad range of customers, include end-clients, dealers, architects, designers, and consumers.
Shot by local vendor Loop360 with a Matterport Pro1 and an iPad, the Herman Miller virtual tour provides a passionate global audience with increased accessibility to the company’s physical spaces. Prior to the full refurbishment of the showroom, which took place from March to September of 2020 during the pandemic, people visiting the London location were typically from the city or surrounding counties.
We wanted a tool to help grow our audience beyond local proximity,” says Rebecca Smith, Marketing Executive at Herman Miller. “We closed our doors for refurbishment in 2020 at the same time the rest of the world closed theirs due to the pandemic. We understood the project would face challenges and the opening in particular would be very different to how we originally anticipated - possible restrictions in occupancy, reduced visitor numbers, or perhaps closed altogether. It was essential to find creative ways to welcome customers and employees to the space and make the physical space work harder for us.
Similarly, with the yo-yoing of local restrictions throughout the pandemic, and a showroom closed to walk-in customers for weeks at a time, it was vital to have a tool that allowed the team to meet customers where they were - at home. The company needed to create tools that enable customers to continue engaging with the brand and spaces all while following COVID guidelines.
“Virtual Tours have been part of our marketing strategy for some time now. In Europe we initially created virtual versions of our major exhibition or event spaces like Stockholm Furniture Fair. These virtual versions allowed our audience to continue engaging with our brand long after the physical show ended,” put simply “this means increasing our opportunity for return on investment.”
After witnessing success with the virtual reflections of exhibitions and events, the office and home furnishing experts rolled it out to its permanent physical spaces in Europe. They have physical showrooms in Paris, Milan, and London, which are now also virtual showrooms. The company had always planned to have a virtual version of Kingsway, but the pandemic heightened that need.
So, how has the business grown since implementing Matterport 3D virtual tours?
“The showroom now has a global audience. We’ve had virtual tours with clients in North America, Italy, France, Dubai, and Mexico, to name a few,” says Smith.
“We can work asynchronously. Prior to having the Matterport virtual showroom, if clients in a different part of the world wanted a tour of the space, it would have relied on someone being in the space walking around with a camera phone, usually very early or late for one party. The Matterport tour allows us to work in our time zone as we aren’t reliant on someone being in the physical space to host the tour.”
Matterport’s technology proved to be a boon for their internal team. It allowed business as usual during a strict lockdown, as the sales teams still “host” clients, albeit differently. It’s allowed flexibility in the selling approach because a lot of successful selling is in the experience. Although nothing can match an in-person experience, Matterport enables Herman Miller to get as close as possible to that experience.
Smith continues along these lines. “Our customers still want to experience Herman Miller. They want to see our products, walk around them, and get a sense of scale within settings. It’s allowed customers to safely experience our brand and products from the comfort of their homes.”
Since opening the showroom in September of 2020, Herman Miller has had just under 1,000 physical visitors. They achieved this number of virtual visitors in the first month of having the Matterport virtual showroom. The Matterport tour has consistently referred a steady number of visitors to the website since launching, and the business continues to get high levels of engagement from its social platforms when posting about it.
For more information about Herman Miller or arranging a visit to their London Showroom visit www.hermanmiller.com