If you’ve read the history of Flipspaces, you know all about the passion they have for their tech stack and how they effectively leverage it to pursue the dream of breaking into the global market for home decor, furniture and furniture of 1,000 billion dollars. Reimagining interior design with technology, Vizstore – the first SaaS product in their tech stack for third-party furniture and home furnishings brands – is a step in that direction.
Vizstore is a virtual store that allows furniture and home furnishing product owners to digitize the experience of displaying, viewing and selecting products using virtual reality technology. The idea, which hit the Flipspaces team in 2016, focused on solving the limitation of retailers and manufacturers not being able to effectively showcase their products in their limited physical display space.
Vizstore, India’s first virtual store technology
The germ of the SaaS idea
Flipspaces’ VR-enabled visualization stack was already developed in 2016, which gave the team the idea to use the same stack for furniture and home furnishings retailers. The brand had already piloted the idea and called it “Flip Couch”, and approached sofa retailers across the segment to implement it.
They conducted a successful pilot project with sofa retailers, selling them paid licenses, through which these retailers could showcase an infinite number of editable sofa designs in real environments within their tabs or laptops. While the pilot was successful, Flipspaces’ Design & Build business took off at the same time, following which the team decided to come back to the idea later.
“Once the pandemic hit, we were forced to go back to the drawing board as the entire commercial design and construction industry had come to a standstill. This gave us time to review the SaaS product and we realized that the SaaS idea was more relevant for furniture and home furnishings retailers in the post-pandemic era, as government mandates had reduced the chances that consumers flock to showrooms to choose their products,” remarks Kunal Sharma, Founder and CEO, Flipspaces.
This unprecedented technology had the potential to give customers a virtual experience of a furniture and home furnishing store, and the Flipspaces team decided to leverage it to make the experience relevant for consumers as well as store owners. This is where the redevelopment phase began, and more features were added to the technology ahead of its official launch in fiscal year 2021-22.
Vizstore showcases your virtual F&F store on any smart device
Market validation phase
“We decided to keep the first phase of market validation for Vizstore very focused. After its market research and product development phase, Flipspaces decided to focus only on one city, Mumbai, and one category, Flooring,” explains Ritesh Ranjan, Partner and CPO, Flipspaces.
Flipspaces initially aimed to sell it as paid software, thus creating a basic SaaS model, as they knew that this software could be further developed with different layers and features and that upselling could be possible on the basic SaaS offering. .
“Paid SaaS models are not in vogue, especially among India’s MSME diaspora. But we decided to take the road less traveled because we truly believe we have an unprecedented value proposition for the retailer. Our market validation phase was to surpass 100 paying retailers, which we were able to do within four months of the official sales launch,” Kunal smiles as he reflects on the journey so far.
According to the Flipspaces team, the fundamental reason for the top-tier success of the software is that in a category with strong storefront, Vizstore promises to help retailers showcase their entire product range easily and with endless possibilities. environments for visual merchandising. This facilitates sales. Additionally, Vizstore also has the ability to provide analytics to store owners on which products were chosen by consumers and helped retailers understand the type of consumers they were targeting as well as their behavior.
Platinum Customer Details VIZSTORE Experience
Key learnings and growth plan
With the vision of becoming the integrated operating system for the furniture and home furnishing industry, Flipspaces conducted price benchmarking in the market, which made them realize that most retailers were willing to pay on a subscription-based model. Today, Vizstore’s core monetization is a subscription-based model, and the Flipspaces team is looking to add more layers of monetization by adding more enterprise toolkit features as well as a fintech in the future.
But the process hasn’t always been a cakewalk for the Flipspaces team, as they’ve gone through several learning curves to get to where they are today. For example, getting into the Indian mindset and understanding them was a new experience for Flipspaces, as Indian consumers are always spending conscious.
“The way we look at it is that we operate in one of the toughest markets in the world for SaaS. However, what makes us confident is that if we are able to find first monetizable success in this market, then the world is ours. The Indian market also allows us to improve our product-market fit before reaching international markets which will be more monetizable but more expensive to maintain,” explains Gaurav Bansal, Vertical Head – Vizstore, Flipspaces.
Working tirelessly to upgrade the software, several features have been added to the SaaS offering over the past few months – catalog distribution functionality, quote and invoice management functionality, and store analytics, to name a few. only a few. This aligns with their vision of becoming the de facto FnF retail software.
The catalog distribution feature allows retailers to find a digital alternative to physical catalog distribution. It allows them to share the experience of a guided tour of their store for any remote customer by generating a customer-specific short link. This distribution can be further granularized into a catalog per day.
“Brands and retailers today are spending a bombshell in physically printing and distributing catalogs to corporate customers, i.e. builders, architects and interior designers. The lightweight licensing feature allows them to share a viewable catalog that’s 5% of the cost of physical distribution,” Ritesh notes.
Another template named Easy Quotes allows retailers to create a default quote and invoice management system. This allows store owners to do better financial analysis, as Vizstore allows them to choose a SKU, and the quantity and prices are already entered into the backend system, along with customer data. This makes it easier for retailers to generate an invoice and email it to customers, all with the click of a button.
In the validation and scaling phase, the Flipspaces team follows the philosophy of Develop fast – Fail first. They truly believe that as pioneers in this market, they should be the first to fail and learn from it in order to develop an unassailable gap in their category.
Easy Quotes – Default quotes and invoices management system on Vizstore
“We truly believe that we have a product that can transform omnichannel commerce in the FnF category. With our presence in India and the US, and the marriage of two critical skill sets which are deep domain expertise and understanding of technology, we are uniquely positioned to solve this complex problem and build a very valuable SaaS business out of Vizstore.We aim to reach 3,000 paid meters by the end of fiscal year 2022-23 and 30,000 meters within the next three years,” says Kunal.