Amazon acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion this month, and the Internet is exploding with discussion of how retail is hereby changing forever, as online retail giants continue an e-commerce battle with traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
In a world where opportunity is growing as exponentially as our technology, the human experience of purchasing product is evolving alongside it. As a technology company working to navigate and grow the brands of countless Canadian furniture designers, artists and retailers, Picturethis® is working to solve the pressing question: how can local brick-and-mortar stores compete with behemoth retail giants like Amazon?
Through studying and learning from Amazon's fearless and successful strategy, we have compiled three valuable lessons that we want to pass on to our partners as we work to build a place for Canadian business in e-commerce:
“If you do not change, you can become extinct” -Spencer Johnson, Author of Who Moved My Cheese
Lesson 1 is embrace and pioneer change . In the rapidly progressing digital landscape, businesses that do not change and adapt will simply be left behind in today's market.
But simply “changing” is not enough - today's e-commerce reality is one of innovation and ruthlessness, where risks need to be taken to launch brands and online platforms above the competition. Case in point, in 2016 Amazon spent 11.8% of net sales ($16.09 billion) on innovative technology, and continues to profit from a fearless e-commerce approach.
Brick-and-mortar retailers often seem to play it safe in the digital age, unfortunately held back by fears of cost and risk that can result in missed opportunity and loss of sales. But innovation doesn’t need to come with a big price tag - we’ve learned from experience that it's all about utilizing measured risk, strategic creativity and quality partnerships.
“Consumers don’t want to be sold to, they want to be connected with.” -Matt Faulk, BASIC CEO and Executive Director
Lesson 2 is strategically focus on consumers’ wants and needs. Interestingly, Retail Dive reported recently that 62% of shoppers still prefer advantages like instant gratification, easy returns and the ability to touch, feel and try out items that comes with an in-store experience. Amazon is catching up with perks like free-returns and 2-day shipping, but the current market still favours the brick-and-mortars who stay strong in their physical store strategy.
That being said, recent years still show trends of an increasing number of people turning to online retailers - a BigCommerce 2017 report showed a consistent 23% increase in e-commerce year-after-year. Therefore there is huge opportunity in the market for brick-and-mortar stores to find the balance between the convenience of shopping online and the advantages of in-store 3-dimensional experiences.
For example, PicturethisⓇ product catalogues demonstrate how furniture retailers can utilize digital platforms to enhance and support their brick-and-mortar stores. We make 3D photorealistic models of real products that can be placed inside 3D replicas of real spaces in online environments that customers can virtually walk through. This saves consumers time and money while giving them the advantages of both the in-store and online shopping experience.
“More and more money will go into making a great customer experience, and less will go into shouting about the service. If you offer a great service, people find out”. -Jeff Bezos, Amazon's Chief Executive Officer
Lesson 3 is the need to invest in meaningful customer experiences. Despite the digital saturation that permeates our lives, customers still crave meaningful interactions within their shopping experiences, giving brick-and-mortars the advantage. However, Amazon’s customer service efforts are setting a high bar, so it’s vital for brick-and-mortar stores to step up customer service with a multimodal online and in person approach.
Sellbrite puts it perfectly: e-commerce competition is fierce, and businesses can’t just sell product. To be successful, retailers have to focus on exceeding expectations, solving problems, listening proactively and working to understand customers better than ever before - online and offline.
At PicturethisⓇ we have found that creating meaningful experiences that get customers into stores has to go hand-in-hand with cultivating them in a parallel online space. When two-thirds of in-store shoppers compare prices online before making a purchase, and 84% of customers believe that retailers should do more to integrate online and offline channels (RetailNext), our technology helps brick-and-mortars win against online behemoths like Amazon.
We hope our partners can benefit from our lessons and experiences as we navigate through the evolving e-commerce landscape. Together we are offering the best of both worlds, leveraging cutting-edge technology with retail opportunity, combining the best parts of e-commerce with good-old-fashioned furniture shopping...all in a way that's never been done before.
Interested in how RE3D technology is helping local retailers win the brick-and-mortar battle with Amazon? Visit picturethistoday for more information or email email@example.com
Victoria, BC — Picture This Today 3D Inc., one of the leading innovators in 3D visualization, is pleased to announce the addition of our first South African franchise as part of our continued international expansion.
The newest franchise will be based out Johannesburg, South Africa and led by Harry Pretorius, an accomplished business and management consultant with real estate experience. Pretorius will represent Picture This as our first franchise in Africa and assist in establishing future franchises in the region.
The addition of our new franchise in South Africa will allow Picture This to bring our revolutionary RE3D software to an even greater global audience and generate a new wave of consumers for our innovative product.
“After evaluating all 3D and virtual reality vendors on the market, and by an uncanny coincidence where a client recommended Picture This and me finding it at the same time, I realize I have found my home where I can provide the service that I was left wanting as a customer,” says Pretorius of joining the Picture This franchise network.
About Picture This
Founded in 2013, Picture This Today 3D Inc. is a Victoria-based company specializing in 3D property visualizations. With franchises located across the world, Picture This has a growing network of real estate professionals and furnishing vendors at the forefront of industry innovation.
For More Information
Patrick Cwiklinski Communications Specialist Picture This Today 3D Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org
Here at Picture This, we’re always looking for ways to top the unparalleled quality inside our revolutionary RE3D software. We’re on a mission to provide the very best 3D models for our trusted design partners and for that we’ve enlisted a phenomenal 3D modeller to ensure we’re always at the forefront of industry innovation.
Andrey Rodin has been with Picture This just five months and already made a significant impact on RE3D since joining the team. With over 12 years working in the field, Andrey gives Picture This’ extensive online catalogue of furnishing products new depth that is unrivaled in the industry. His expertise in 3D modelling has opened the door for a level of product realism that is truly extraordinary.
Andrey’s exceptional attention to detail and perfectionist approach make Picture This stand out in a sea of competitors that simply cannot offer the same stunningly beautiful 3D models we can.
Not to brag — but it’s the truth. Just take a look at some of the latest 3D models that Andrey has uploaded to RE3D and see how amazing these products look in our new recurring blog series Model Magic.
The London Home Builders’ Lifestyle Home Show is southwestern Ontario’s largest home show. Highlighting the very best in home improvement, new home construction and lifestyle products, the Lifestyle Home Show is celebrating its 24th year and has shown no signs of slowing down in the near future.
Taking place at Western Fair District in London, Ont., this year’s Lifestyle Home Show will showcase nearly 600 booths and 250 exhibitioners. Perhaps the best description of the show’s vision comes from London Home Builders’ Association (LHBA) president Trevor McKenzie, who wrote:
“You might think that after 24 years of holding the Lifestyle Home Show, that we might run out of ideas, but that’s part of the wonder of the housing and renovation industry — there’s never an end to innovation. Whether it’s improvements in the performance of construction materials and home operating systems, totally new products and services created to support the needs of today’s families or new building science that enhances how your home functions — there is always something new and improved!”
With attendance reaching an average of roughly 14,000 people from London and surrounding areas, it’s no surprise how the Lifestyle Home Show has built such a successful event in recent years. It’s also an interesting dynamic of different age groups who attend: 42 percent are 35 to 55, 53 percent are 55 and older and five percent are 18 to 34, while 90 percent own their home.
Most people are seeking information on renovating, landscaping, decorating and building a home in general. While there are several fantastic companies who address these needs in their own ways, none do it quite like Picture This London.
The London-based franchise is owned and operated by Luis Ambrosio, who brings years of experience in manufacturing operations and project management. He has a Master’s degree in Business Administration, a university degree in Industrial Engineering and a Professional Six Sigma Black Belt Certificate.
Picture This London is an official Picture This franchise, a Victoria-based company making waves in the real estate and furnishing industries with a revolutionary software called RE3D, which allows consumers to walk inside virtual replicas of homes and change its interior features and make significant renovations with product available for purchase through the system.
With Picture This London, Ambrosio is bringing RE3D to the people of London and hopes to make a lasting impression at the Lifestyle Home Show, where he will be showing everyone just how incredible the software is in person.
“I’m very excited about my current opportunity with Picture This and I can know that, through the use of technology, the industry will change and I’m thrilled to be a part of the next wave,” says Ambrosio.
Luis Ambrosio will be at the Lifestyle Home Show from Jan. 27-29. You can find him at Booth 610 to learn more about Picture This London and RE3D.
The Interior Design Show (IDS) is quickly approaching and while there are several exciting exhibitors presenting their inventive creations at this year’s show in Toronto — Chilean designer Cristian Arostegui stands out from the bunch.
Winner of the 2015 IDS Vancouver prototype exhibit, Arostegui gained significant attention from the North American design community when his Sofi Bench became one of the Vancouver event’s must-see designs. The piece is modelled after his dog, aptly named Sofi, and takes influence from a time when Arostegui saw her staring at a squirrel in an attentive position with her legs ready to run.
Another design he brought with him from Arostegui Studio in Victoria was the Solero coffee table, which was featured in an article for the Globe & Mail. The piece follows a modern design based on solar and geometrical patterns inspired by the Sun’s rays. He also brought a prototype of his Ttris shelves to IDS Vancouver, a design inspired by the 1984 video game classic Tetris.
“I think it’s a very cool design that could be produced in the market,” said Arostegui of the Ttris shelves. “It’s a modular design in six different shapes and nine different colours and I like the freedom the modular shapes provide. They’re very easy to manufacture as well.”
This Thursday, Arostegui will make his IDS return by making his first appearance at IDS Toronto, where he will be bringing his acclaimed designs to the Toronto public for the first time in his career
“I’m quite excited about Toronto,” says Arostegui. “IDS Toronto is a big show, bigger than the one in Vancouver, so the exposure my studio will get should be wider. I have been focusing mainly on the west coast, this show will be my first experience with the eastern Canadian market. The Toronto market is bigger and more into modern design so I’m very enthusiastic about the feedback.”
Arostegui will bring his well-received Ttris shelves to IDS Toronto and compete in the 2017 IDS Toronto prototype exhibit, where he will attempt to add a second design title from IDS after already having earned one on the west coast. Despite the prospect of more competition in Toronto, the designer is confident his shelves can make an impact on this new market.
“It would be great to win, it would bring me more visibility in Toronto and the east and the opportunity to come back in 2018,” says Arostegui.
“Personally, it will assure that I am doing things correctly and I should keep the same path that I have been on for the last three years. It also helps build up my confidence as a designer. It would be great if this competition brings me the opportunity to start some projects in Toronto.”
Arostegui is a proud partner of Picture This and many of his designs are available for purchase through the company’s revolutionary RE3D software. Picture This Toronto owner Richard Hillier will also be attending IDS Toronto and available to talk at Booth E inside the LAB at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from Jan. 19-22.
On a list that includes full-fledged young celebrities like the Kardashian clan’s Kylie Jenner and Kanye West protégé Desiigner, it seems unlikely for a second-year English literature student at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to even be in the conversation for such a list.
But scroll through the Forbes 30 Under 30 selections for 2017 and you’ll see the name Ann Makosinski in the youngest category, sandwiched between some of the most influential and innovative youth in North America today.
Well, unfortunately for all us book worms out there, it’s not her love of literature that has earned her a spot on the Forbes list as well as appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and multiple TEDx talks.
No, at the tender age of 19, Makosinski has made a name for herself as the inventor of the Hollow Flashlight, which runs off the heat of the human hand, and the eDrink, a mug that converts heat from your drink into electric current to charge your phone.
These inventions began when Makosinski was only seven-years-old, looking to create her own entertainment with very limited toys and television time growing up. Since then, there’s been plenty of trial and error over the years.
“I’d take garbage and I’d glue them together and create inventions,” she told CBC News.
“Of course, they never worked, but the idea of taking the resources around me and piecing them together to make something better or to solve a problem was kind of there from the start.”
It seems like that approach has paid off for Makosinski as she continues her studies at UBC while simultaneously building her business, Makotronics Enterprises, in between working on essays and a mountain of readings. That seems to have not deterred her from staying to true to her passion.
“I think it is important to have a balance of science and arts to be able to be accessible in either fields,” she said. “It’s just that has interested me, but I still do all my science and business outside of school.”
Hailing from the creative Canadian hotbed that is Victoria, Makosinski is an inspiration for all Victorians pursuing their innovative aspirations. One such example is Picture This Today, a company making waves in the real estate and furnishing industries with a revolutionary software allowing consumers to walk inside virtual replicas of homes and change its interior features with product available for purchase through the system.
Giving homeowners the ability to truly visualize and customize their home in a detailed 3D environment is something Picture This Today wanted to accomplish in order to create a better way to buy and furnish properties and it’s become just that.
With creative leaders like Picture This Today and Makosinski both representing the same city, it’s hard to believe Victoria is one of the smaller business communities in Canada — but that doesn’t mean its inventive individuals are sparse by any means.
When one of the most prestigious and reputable news organizations in the world ranks your country at the top of its “52 Places to Go in 2017,” you notice. When that country is revealed to be none other than the Great White North itself, you might simply receive a collective “thank you” from the folks living just upstairs.
That’s a little piece of terrible Canadian humour for you and something The New York Times may (but almost definitely did not) have taken into consideration when ranking Canada as No. 1 on its recently published list of “52 Places to Go in 2017.”
Competing against the likes of top-ten entries such as the magnificent Atacama Desert in Chile and Agra, India — home of the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal — it seems like Canada would have its work cut out even making the upper echelon of such a list compiled by The New York Times. But here we are, sitting atop every other place in the world.
Sorry, we haven’t really mastered this bragging thing yet. It’s not really our style.
But this is cause for celebration. The headline reads “a northern neighbor is a world to explore” and Canada is just that when you think about it. Geographically speaking, it is the second largest country in the entire world yet most people outside of it only recognize big cities like Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto — thanks, Drake.
The reality is Canada’s sprawling natural landscape make it a destination with a world of possibilities. From the stunning shores of the west coast to small east coast fishing outlets in the Maritimes and everywhere in between, Canada has so many places people haven’t seen or heard about and that’s part of what makes it such a special place to see.
Of course, there are also some financial incentives for visiting Canada if you’re heading up from the United States as well. With the 150th anniversary of its confederation occurring this year, Canada is offering free admission at over 200 of its national parks and historic sites. If that wasn’t enough, the weak Canadian dollar also makes it a desirable destination for Americans to visit.
There’s something for everyone to see and experience. Whatever pace of life suites you best, Canada has many offerings in many different flavours. And if you end up loving it as much as the people who live here do: stay.
With plenty of space and opportunity to grow, Canada is a great place to work and build a life. No pressure, it’s just a fact.
If moving to Canada is something you’re really interested in doing, consider contacting Picture This Today to have something waiting for you on the other side of that border when you get here. Boasting beautiful virtual replicas of real property listings, you can fully customize the space to your liking with an extensive catalogue of product available for purchase online.
In addition to Picture This Today’s stunning virtual replicas of homes, we’re also proudly Canadian. With franchises across the country from Victoria to New Brunswick, our company supports Canadian designers who bring the latest and greatest furniture and home products from all corners of the country.
Give us a try, eh. Nobody will even notice you’re not Canadian.
The B.C. government wants to help quell some of the financial anxiety that comes with being a new home owner in the province with a new interest-free loan that will essentially cover the cost of a mortgage down payment for first-time homebuyers.
Accepting applications starting Jan. 16, 2017, the B.C. Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program will equip first-time homebuyers with a maximum loan of $37,500 — or up to five percent of their home purchase price. The 25-year loan will be interest-free and payment-free for the first five years.
The new loan might initially appear to be a sweet holiday gesture, but it’s already causing some controversy in the province. B.C. NDP housing critic David Eby has been vocal of his opposition to the loan and feels it will likely cause more long-term financial problems than it will solve.
“The risk of attacking this problem by encouraging people to take on more debt instead of providing more affordable housing is that people will be at increased risk of default if interest rates go up,” said Eby.
Of course, B.C. Premier and Liberal Party leader Christy Clark shared a different sentiment and focused on the opportunities that will come through the implementation of this new loan for first-time homebuyers.
“I think most people who have bought their first home can look back and remember how hard it was to make that down payment,” said Premier Clark. “We must make sure it is easier for first-time home buyers to find their way into a really tough housing market right here.”
Despite the controversy, the new loan is coming soon and there are sure to be plenty of people interested in taking the B.C. government up on their offer. Should that be the case as expected, home sales will likely spike at some point in the new year as more people will be able to afford mortgage down payments.
To help with the growing home sale demands, Victoria-based real estate software company Picture This Today is offering an easy fix to the potential housing shopping frenzy in 2017. Using their revolutionary RE3D software, Picture This Today creates virtual visualizations of living spaces that are fully customizable with an extensive online catalogue that includes plenty of products available for purchase.
What does this mean for first-time homebuyers? Well, for starters, they don’t have to settle for just any home. RE3D allows potential homebuyers to see past any inadequacies that may be holding them back from purchasing. Buying a home in need of some renovation might be daunting at first, but RE3D allows homebuyers to act as their own designers in an easy-to-use virtual environment that takes all the guess work out of seeing the home for what it could be.
Interested in buying a new home in the new year? Give yourself an early Christmas present and check out Picture This Today for yourself.
Alvin Wang Graylin, China Regional President of Vive at HTC, recently spoke at the Vision VR / AR Summit in Beijing and brought with him some bold predictions for VR over the next two years.
Two of Graylin’s 2018 predictions pertaining to real estate and retail are quite fascinating. He lists “real-estate developers begin to sell VR-ready micro-apartments” and “all key retailers begin offering VR shopping models” which could revolutionize those industries entirely should his predictions prove accurate.
Victoria-based real estate software company Picture This Today is already planning ahead and preparing for these predictions to become reality. With sights sets on hitting the VR market in 2017, the company already shows fully immersive and interactive 3D environments of real property listings. Its exclusive online catalogue of 3D models is expected to be available through VR within a year and real estate developers could give tenants the opportunity to renovate their space in a VR environment before going through with extensive physical renovations that may or may not pan out in reality.
These are among the massive opportunities Picture This Today is hoping to open the door for a new wave of VR innovation that will bring real estate and furnishing into the future. The work is already underway and it’s simply a matter of time before it becomes a new feature for Picture This Today’s revolutionary RE3D software.
Graylin mapped out 10 predictions for 2017 and 2018 and his forecast included a have a heavy emphasis on increased day-to-day use of VR and its integration into daily life. See his predictions below.
Picture This Toronto franchise owner Richard Hillier recently attended The Buildings Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from Nov. 30 – Dec. 2 and was blown away with the response to his product and the sheer amount of creative individuals altogether in one place.
Richard specifically attended the renovation and interior design expos, both under The Buildings Show banner, made some great connections with other attendees and was thrilled with some of his findings. Check out the video below to find out more about Richard’s experience:
Here’s a sentence you probably weren’t expecting to read in this lifetime: Metro Vancouver home sale prices are expected to drop next year.
No, that wasn’t a typo. For those dreaming of one day owning a home in Vancouver, that possibility has never been more obtainable. The B.C. Real Estate Association is predicting that average home sale prices will drop by 8.7 percent in Greater Vancouver and the rest of B.C. in 2017.
The bold prediction marks the first time in five years that the B.C. Real Estate Association has predicted a dip in year-over-year average home sale prices for Greater Vancouver. It is also 14.5 percent lower than the association’s previous forecast for 2017, published in late August, which predicted a 5.8 percent year-over-year increase in average home sale prices.
“We have to consider the source,” Andrey Pavlov, a professor of finance at the Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, told the Vancouver Sun. “This is basically an industry group, and they have incentives to paint the real estate market in the best terms possible. With this in mind, if they’re forecasting a decline, then in my view things are probably pretty bad.”
David Hutchinson, a realtor with Sutton, has been monitoring Vancouver market activity daily and has seen some “notable price corrections” as of late. Listings show a house in East Vancouver’s Collingwood neighbourhood that was recently originally listed for $1.6 million and re-listed last week for $999,000.
“It’s kind of a fickle market at the moment,” Hutchinson said. “The market is still up from 2015, it’s just not ridiculous anymore.”
It’s that ridiculous market that made it nearly impossible for potential homebuyers with average incomes to purchase homes in the Greater Vancouver area. With competition from international buyers, these potential homebuyers were left in the dust as bidding wars that jacked the price up ensued.
But that’s not the way all real estate professionals see things, including Evan Siddall, CEO of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
“While foreign investment clearly is a factor, it is not the only one,” Siddall told Global News.
He cited domestic residential investing, population and economic growth, Canada’s tax laws, and supply issues as factors driving Metro Vancouver’s overheated housing market, along with foreign investment.
Regardless of the driving force behind the B.C. Real Estate Association’s prediction, there seems to be a new opportunity opening for potential homebuyers and with that will come a flood of new people interested in buying homes in the Greater Vancouver area in 2017.
Victoria-based company Picture This Today will make it easier for real estate agents to meet these growing sales demands with RE3D, a virtual visualization software that allows potential clients to customize a prospective living space to their liking before ever entering the home.
And when they say “customize,” it’s more than just a buzz word. RE3D gives fully immersive and interactive virtual walkthrough of real listings that potential clients can furnish to their personal taste with an extensive online catalogue of product available for purchase.
Making home sales has never been easier with Picture This Today’s innovative RE3D software that will change clients’ perspective from a “well… I’m not sure” to “let me sign the dotted line.”