Oh, Houzz. Where would I be without you? I know exactly where I’d be. Sitting in a bland, boring house.
We recently purchased a home and were lucky enough to be able to choose some design features during the build process. It’s hard to explain just how great of an asset the Houzz app became during our decorating venture but I’ll try below.
As you can imagine, Houzz is all about inspiration. Every consumer has an idea in their mind of a product before they purchase it. In our case, my wife and I had an idea of how our kitchen, dining, and bathrooms would look and what products might fill them. We turned to Houzz to bring our ideas into a reality.
We typically started in the Photos section of the app, which allows you to filter by room type, location (i.e. Chicago, NYC, Denver, LA, etc.), style, budget, and size. These filters allow you to quickly find specific inspiration that builds upon your original ideas. We spent the majority of our time gathering inspiration for our new kitchen and master bathroom.
As you swipe through numerous photos, you are given the option to save images to your “Ideabook” or send to a friend. You can also measure distances of a countertop, draw arrows to point out a specific object, add an emoticon, comment or place a piece of furniture on the picture. How cool!
Next on our to-do list was lighting. We both spent plenty of time in the Photos section but really transitioned to Shop mode. The Shop section is as expected, using Product Categories and Browse much like any other retailer or marketplace. An interesting and engaging customization is that you can choose an item you find in Shop and place it a photo you’ve saved to your Ideabook. It’s a great way to see if a product fits with your picture of the room.
Yes, Houzz has a typical shopping section but they also offer a very different shopping experience within the Photos section. Nearly every photo you sift through has bright green tags. These little tags - which sway as if mimicking the movements of your hands while walking around - are extremely enticing. I’ve clicked on more green tags than I can count just to learn about a product or even to figure out exactly what is for sale. The lack of specificity is actually more interesting to me, not to mention that I’m looking at a product in a real life environment. We’ve actually made purchases via the Houzz app, most recently buying 6 fake artichokes to use as part of a centerpiece on our dinning room table. I have no idea if we got a deal; I just know the app and imagery definitely sold me.
Speaking of product imagery…
Over my many years partnering with retailers and spending countless hours on websites and apps, I’ve come to a very simple realization. Extensive, high quality product imagery is at the top of my list of importance for every retailer. While shopping and browsing, I will quickly turn away from a product if the imagery does not show me everything I need to know. Take fashion, for instance: Those white background images are nice, but I need a shot on a body, moving down the street. Not a model in the same pose for every color. Assist your customers in making the purchase by simulating real world scenarios.
Digression over. Back to Houzz!
The last areas I’d like to highlight are Find Pros and Latest. If you can’t find enough inspiration in the app alone, Houzz offers a Find Pros section with reviews of area professionals as well as direct links to contact them. The Latest section brings users inspiration in the form of blogs, discussions, and lookbooks. One of my favorite posts here is the Room of the Day. This daily post highlights a specific room by pairing beautiful imagery with an article describing the thought process behind the design.
Houzz truly allowed us to bring our ideas to life and gave us the ability to collaborate. We’ve continued to use the application as we fill our new house with items that make it our home. We appreciate its approach of focusing on inspiration rather than direct product sales. Both me and my wife will be Houzz app users for a long time.