Reece, Australia’s leading supplier of bathroom, plumbing, HVAC and other construction solutions has partnered with Thoughtworks (NASDAQ: TWKS), a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation, for the development and launch of its custom bathroom planning tool, Imagin3D™. A transformative, user-friendly tool, Imagin3D delivers an inspiring digital planning, architecture design and purchasing experience for Reece customers.
Serving retail and trade customers across its 250+ bathroom locations around Australia, the collaboration with Thoughtworks has enabled Reece to elevate its digital customer journey and offer a unique experience that makes bathroom renovations easier. Research commissioned by Reece found that more than a third of renovators agreed that the most frustrating aspect of the renovation experience was not being able to visualize how all the products would fit and look in their home.
With the recent rise of ecommerce, customers expect an evolved, blended experience of the digital and physical worlds. Acknowledging this, Reece sought to develop an innovative online tool that used the latest technologies to capture the customer’s vision and help them feel more confident about their design choices and purchasing decisions. Additionally, this allows Reece customers to communicate better with their trade workers and ensure the product selection is more seamless.
“This new chapter in our innovation journey is based on exploring how we can harness disruptive technologies to deliver a more valuable experience for customers, partners and our team,” said Carlo Tarquinio, Group chief innovation officer, Reece.
“By embedding the latest in 3D technology, our goal is to make it easier for customers to select products and feel confident about their bathroom design, and to make improvements for consultants and trades by reducing friction in the path to purchase.”
Reece engaged with Thoughtworks based on its extensive, best-in-class industry experience and design-led approach, to bring Imagin3D to life. With customer experience sitting at the centre of the project, there were three critical success factors the new tool needed to address.
From Imagin3D’s ideation and throughout the development stages, talking to customers and trades ensured that the features that mattered most to them (like moving products with arrow keys) didn’t miss out on assumed priorities (e.g. advanced product filtering). The tool needed to give customers full planning power so users could visualize the look, feel, and scale of their space, in real time - reducing future changes and ensuring a positive experience for our customers and Reece’s showroom consultants.
Empowering customers with planning required insights into or how to make 3D architectural design easy for all users, with natural interactions of dragging and dropping, millimetre precision and beautiful 3D visuals rendered in real-time on any desktop or mobile device. It also features glassmorphic design (a technique used to emulate the opaque quality of frosted glass to add texture and dimensionality) that matches and enhances the feeling of designing a real-life room.
Finally, the key to the tool’s success would rely on continued refinement and improvement of small interactions, based on user testing in real environments and observing actual user behaviour (in addition to their input and feedback) - especially in relation to the movement of products and navigating the 3D space.
Reece and Thoughtworks engineers applied industry best practices including pair programming, test-driven development and continuous delivery, to ensure the tool meets the highest technical and quality standards. Cutting edge technologies like Three.js, WebGL, and React Three Fiber allows the team to take advantage of the latest innovations in web-based 3D technology, and position the tool to stay up to date with potential future developments in areas such as virtual reality and machine learning. Importantly, new features can be planned, developed, tested and released to users in days, rather than weeks or months.
“The proliferation of ecommerce presents an enormous opportunity for companies to capture and convert customers online by offering seamless, user-friendly experiences,” said Nic Smythe, Director of Customer Experience, Product and Design at Thoughtworks.
“As competition to attract and hold onto customers intensifies, the winners will be those who can embed new and disruptive technologies to offer unique digital experiences that are equally meaningful and valuable for users.”
In December 2021, Reece launched its 3D Bathroom Planner for pilot program testing with its showroom team and to date, the new tool has helped over 15,000 customers bring their dream bathrooms to life. Looking forward, Reece will continue to evolve the offering for Imagin3D based on customer insights, while looking into how they might be able to use visualization technology to solve other customer challenges.
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Thoughtworks is a global technology consultancy that integrates strategy, design and engineering to drive digital innovation. Thoughtworks is 11,000+ people strong across 49 offices in 17 countries. Over the last 25+ years, we’ve delivered extraordinary impact together with our clients by helping them solve complex business problems with technology as the differentiator.
Reece Group is a leading Australian distributor of plumbing, bathroom, waterworks and HVAC-R products to both commercial and residential customers. The Reece business began in 1919 when Harold Joseph Reece started selling hardware products out of the back of his truck. Today, Reece is a major public company with close to 850 branches and showrooms across Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Through its premium showrooms, Reece consultants bring expertise and experience to all projects, helping its customers access the right information and tools to create a bathroom better than imagined. To learn more about Reece and its industry leading products and services, please visit: https://www.reece.com.au
Linda Horiuchi, global head of public relations
Phone: +1 (646) 581-2568