The really savvy hat or sports jacket salesperson understands that getting someone to see themselves in just the right apparel is halfway to closing the deal. “Try it on,” they say. “No -- keep it on,” they protest when you try to take it off and hand it back, since the item really isn’t yours. But the salesperson wants you to act as if it is already yours. “Keep it on.”
That is the tried-and-true principal behind the Jenn-Air DesignVision app that launched this week for iPhones. Developed with their agency Digitas, DesignVision lets the kitchen appliance shopper or remodeler envision their space with Jenn-Air goods.
Not quite augmented reality in the classic sense, the app offers you the Jenn-Air catalog of ranges, refrigerators, dishwashers, etc. as cutouts you can lay over a camera view of the kitchen space. The app lets you squeeze and pinch the items to make a good fit, then snap a picture of the space with the item in its spot.
The kitchen dreamer can play with finishes for the fridge, oven, or other appliance. One of the cool aspects of the camera view is that you can flip through different models within a category as the camera is live over a location. Deeper specs and information are available for the appliance from within every view, including videos.
There is the standard showroom finder and direct dial or email to Jenn-Air.
Digitas says that its mobile approach to this app follows its general principles for designing mobile -- look for the “moments” that a brand is capable of enhancing.
While not quite a full-blown dream kitchen redesigner, DesignVision is an effective tool, at least for those who want to stay within the Jenn-Air family of appliances. And that may be the one thing missing from the app -- some rationale for why the user should stay within this brand’s family of products when generally people are shopping across brands in most purchase decisions.
The inherent problem with many branded apps, even the ones that offer smart utility, is that they keep the user corralled unnaturally within the host brand. What if Jenn-Air took the next step and allowed users to snap and save any appliance they are considering so it can be superimposed in the kitchen space? The brand still has the upper hand, both by way of supplying the tool and by having a much richer trove of information on their own products.
But the tool becomes all the more useful to the consumer because it lets them do this photo trick on any product. If apps are going to be genuinely useful to consumers as tools, then brands need to follow the lead of some major media publishers -- let competitors in (in their case, via links and curation/aggregation). If branded apps turn marketers into publishers, then they may also need to learn some of the hard lessons of modern digital media: users aren't interested in your old silos.