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Creating a digital mood board for a luxury lifestyle brand | #BehindTheBrand

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​​Visitors to House of Hackney’s new flagship store in East London will now be able to benefit from a pioneering phygital experience, thanks to Intelligent Self Service experts, 4 Roads

Situated in “The Playroom”, the specially created mood board allows customers of the British luxury interiors & lifestyle brand to visualise dream concepts on a true-to-life scale, before making a purchase - all while being able to touch and layer fabric, paint and wallpaper samples in real life.

Customers and House of Hackney consultants will be able to use the 4 Roads innovation to create “product shortlists”, either from home or in-store, which can then be projected onto The Playroom walls, in order to aid decision making.

It’s a pretty revolutionary concept that goes beyond a simple rebrand and we sat down with 4 Roads CEO and Founder Rob Nash to get the inside scoop on it all.

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What was the brief?

House of Hackney is known for selling interior design products of outstanding quality. However, it can be challenging for customers to envision how products like wallpaper, paint and fabric will transform their home—especially difficult when viewing small samples patches.

4 Roads was tasked with developing a digital solution to bridge the imagination gap at House Of Hackney’s new flagship store. This later evolved into creating a solution to allow customers to mix and match paints and wallpapers on an interface before projecting the scheme onto a wall to visualise the scheme in true scale as if it were in their own home.

4 Roads then guided House Of Hackney towards a custom-built digital mood board, where customers and House of Hackney consultants will be able to create product shortlists, either from home or in-store, which can then be projected onto the walls of the dedicated space.

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go to win the business with House of Hackney?

We had an initial consultation with the client to understand the budget and get under the skin of its customers. We then held an internal brainstorming session to develop concepts and ideas that could be presented back to the customer. 

This included creating some basic wireframes and user journeys along with a technical architecture of the hardware that would be used. At this point, House of Hackney was in the process of relocating its physical store to a new building in St Michaels in London, so as a team we had to be quite adaptive to the changing building designs.

What was your thinking behind the collaboration?

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4 Roads specialises in Intelligent Self Service, so as a digital agency we tend to be involved in web solutions, however, we are very keen to demonstrate that there is a massive crossover between instore experiences and how that marries with ISS. This collaboration has started to help us all explore that. 

Did you learn anything new during the creation of the solution?

There are lots of lessons learned from this project so far….  The first lesson was that short throw projectors are quite difficult to source. When building physical things we should have worked with the customer to design the room space more holistically. However, the House Of Hackney team is very artistic and dynamic so actually, it worked out well.

What was the biggest challenge? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was working with the external agency to manage the products that were used in the mood board selector tool. This included uploading all the samples and products available on the solution being uploaded manually, ensuring they match product codes. But this was resolved by regular meetings and good communication.

What kit/tools/software was used to create the solution?

The solution consists of a web solution built using REACT front end and a .net core backend hosted on servers in the cloud. The internal architecture of the solution required the use of a raspberry pi and a touch screen as well as a large display. A web solution will allow us in the future to integrate with things like SSO to make the experience seamless and allow home visualisations using AR.

What details are you most proud of and why?

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We are most proud of how the experience has turned out and the reception it has received from the staff in all stores, as well as the retail and technology press.

What visual experiences inspired your solution?

There are various art installations like The Reel Store and apps like Dulux and Ikea, as well as our unique approach to digital customer experience problems.

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

We hope it allows House Of Hackney clients the ability to visualise their purchases and speed up the purchase process. We hope it enables their customers to make the right design choices for their home, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. We hope it showcases the brand as a pioneer of customer-first thinking and problem-solving.

House of Hackney prides itself not only on selling high quality products, but also on advising customers to make the best choices for their home. We want this new experience to take House of Hackney’s customer service to the next level.

What would you do differently if you could do it over again?

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Finalise room size as this affects how projectors perform, hugely impacting the visual quality. This needed to be resolved because it drastically affected the overall experience. However, this was a symptom of House Of Hackney moving their flagship store.

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