Barbeques Galore launches virtual, at-home showroom

Australian outdoor retail franchise, Barbeques Galore has turned to augmented reality to boost instore and online sales with a new customer-centric app.

The BBQ Galore – At Home app enables Australian consumers to view more than 100 of the brand’s products in ultra-realistic detail in situ, comparing sizing, dimensions and design through the use of a drag and drop feature.

With Summer fast approaching, Luke Naish, Barbeques Galore CEO said the app had the potential to boost product awareness and streamline buying-times as outdoor retailing enters its biggest period of the year.

“As an outdoor focused retailer, our website is our first port-of-call. Around 70 per cent of our customers begin their journey of exploration and research online, so we really wanted to create something that was informative and enjoyable for the customer,” Naish said.

“We ultimately want to inspire a purchase, and we thought that technology could be incorporated into our store’s digital services.”

Developed in partnership with technology company INHAABIT, the BBQ Galore – At Home app presents a rare opportunity for consumers to ‘try before they buy’, which Naish says is critical to the customer buying process.

“It’s part of the consideration process; whether it looks good, fits, is proportionate and scalable. Our online business is growing at triple rate, and this is really about giving customers better tools to make an informed decision, but also to transact with confidence,” Naish said.

Traditionally, the integration of digital initiatives has been used to bolster a retail enterprise’s e-commerce sector, however Naish believes the latest app has the potential to greatly improve in-store franchisee sales as well.

“The app is a logical extension for customers who time-poor, but also has implications for click and collect or delivery. It’s really about empowering the customer to make a positive buying decision,” Naish said.

“Physically, when a customer walks into the store…it’s my opinion that they’re reaffirming, validating. They’ve looked online, and now they’re coming in to see if the colour, durability, size matches what they saw on the website. We saw the AR app as a way for the customer to visualise how the item will look in situ, because it is a considered purchase; it’s not something you buy every day, so we need to make sure that customer experience aligns with what our customers expect.”

“By giving customers the best way possible to see our products within their home environment, we are helping them make the best purchase when they come instore.”

Barbeques Galore’s latest announcement marks the first of many digital initiatives slated for the final months of 2018, with the brand set to launch a consumer-focused cooking app within a week, targeting the growing low-and-slow market.

“It’s a good time in the outdoor retail space, because we’re seeing a lot more specialisation of product, a lot of different barbeque options. Australians are tremendously ambitious, particularly in regard to taste and preferences,” Naish said.

“We’re seeing this new market of highly engaged consumers, that may have two or three or four barbeques, with a number of different products at their disposal for any range of outdoor activities.”