Picture this - virtual redecorating

SINGAPORE - Picture a brand new sofa that you desire at a furniture showroom, and imagine it placed in the comfort of your living room.

Soon, you will be able to visualise this clearly through a new mobile application being developed by local furnishing specialists Air Division.

To be launched next month, the app will allow users to select a piece of furniture and blend it into a home setting.

By activating the app and pointing a mobile device at a desired background, and transposing the furniture item on it, a user can assess the look and feel of the combination before making a shopping decision.

The user can also change the colour of the item, rotate it to view from different angles or send a picture of it via social media websites or e-mail to get feedback from friends and family.

The new app is targeted at enhancing the overall shopping experience for Air Division's customers, said managing director Michael Toh.

"Something like this will greatly enhance our brand in the mind of consumers, especially the current generation of consumers who are very much into their smartphones," Mr Toh said.

"By the time they get to the store, they will know exactly what they want," he added.

Air Division, which has its flagship store in Wilkie Road and another outlet at Park Mall, was started in 1999 by Mr Toh and a group of his former colleagues.

"We saw a lack of affordable designer furniture pieces on the market," said Mr Toh.

Hence, Air Division was set up to fill this gap.

The company is both a manufacturer of its own "air" line of furniture and a retailer of designer furniture such as France's Ligne Roset, Britain's Voon Wong & Benson Saw, Japan's Toshiyuki Kita and home-grown Phunk Studio.

Air Division, which has won accolades at the Red Dot Design Award and Singapore Design Awards, also has a presence in international markets, including France and the United States.

"We are looking to expand our network worldwide through our franchise programme," said Mr Toh.

The company's primary focus remains in the home market, and it plans to create a seamless customer experience across both off- line and online platforms here.

The development of the mobile app - currently in the final stages of testing - is a step in that direction. It was created with support from Spring via its Capability Development Grant. The grant helps small and medium-sized enterprises to defray development costs of projects undertaken to improve their competitiveness.

Mr Toh said the grant and advice from Spring have enabled Air Division to introduce a new approach to elevating customer service and brand experience.

"We are constantly looking for ways to enhance our capability (and) be at the forefront of the industry."

Air Division has already started the next phase of its online retailing project to weave its online shopping functions into mobile devices.

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