Innovative iGranite app proves a powerful sales tool

Kitchen makeover franchise Granite Transformations has achieved the ‘holy grail’ of home improvement marketing, by developing an iPad app that enables its customers to preview exactly how new worktops, doors, drawer fronts and other elements will appear in their own homes.

Rather than just employ stock images of standard kitchen roomsets for visualising a makeover, its innovative iGranite app allows the user to photograph their very own kitchen, then manipulate the image to try out different colour and material combinations from the Granite Transformations range. Britain’s top gymnast, three-times world champion Beth Tweddle, is pictured here trying out the new app at a recent brand photoshoot.

Using one of the in-built cameras in the iPad 2 tablet computer, the customer or Granite Transformations franchise owner can photograph an actual kitchen, then upload the stills into the application’s image database and overlay new worktops, doors, drawers and splashbacks on to the existing surfaces. So instead of just imagining how a change in décor might look, the customer sees the virtual finished result – and it works for Granite Transformations bathroom makeovers too.

Danny Hanlon, Granite Transformations’ Chief Operating Officer, said: “One of the greatest challenges facing the home improvements industry has always been getting customers to visualise the end product. Well now they can.

“In one of our recent focus groups, people were saying ‘had I known it was going to look that good, I would have been prepared to pay even more’. So I am highly confident that our exclusive iGranite app will enable our franchise owners to increase their level of in-home appointments and improve their sales closing ratios. It’s that effective as a marketing tool.”

Granite Transformations is a global kitchen worktops franchise, with 180 showrooms across four continents, and is looking to continue expanding its UK retail network.

“Innovations like iGranite are among the benefits of being part of a worldwide franchise organisation, especially as the six-figure application development budget would be well beyond a regular standalone business,” added Hanlon. “Ideas such as this and our recent replacement kitchen door programme add value to our franchise owners’ businesses, enabling them to generate increased revenue and, should they eventually choose to sell the franchise on, realise a greater return on their initial investment.”

Available as a free download from the iTunes App Store, iGranite is already being used by Granite Transformations franchise owners and their staff both in the showroom and the customer’s home, where design consultations and measuring up take place. The program itself holds high resolution images of current products, including Italian granite, quartz and recycled glass worktop surfaces, replacement doors in high gloss colours and woodgrains, and a selection of glass mosaic splashbacks from sister company Trend. With the touch of a fingertip, these can be digitally applied to different areas of a kitchen image, mix and matching the various materials and finishes until the desired look is displayed on screen.

Having taken and reworked a picture of the kitchen, the franchise owner can send the image to the customer as an email attachment, together with a quotation for the job and suggested installation date, thereby completing the sales cycle.

Granite Transformations showroom and sales staff are also using their iPad 2s as mobile marketing tools to hold copies of TV commercials, YouTube clips of a kitchen makeover, images of previous installations and sequences from Sarah Beeny’s TV restoration project, where Granite Transformations products are showcased in many bedrooms and bathrooms.