James Latham, one of the UK’s leading and most forward-thinking distributors of timber, panels and decorative surfaces, has announced the launch of its powerful new online surfacing specification tool, the Digital Showroom Platform.
With the number of specifiers embracing online design solutions likely to grow over the next decade, James Latham, known for its market agility and pioneering sector innovation, decided to meet this demand directly by digitally enhancing the selection process.
This trend was recently evidenced in NBS’ Digital Construction Report 2021, which found almost 70% of specifiers are now predominantly using digital tools for design tasks, particularly product selection.
Following two years of in-depth audience research and back-end development, Latham’s Digital Showroom is directly responding to the architectural and design community’s rapid move to online channels for material selection.
Significantly, the platform offers exploration, selection, sampling and direct engagement with Latham’s expert design consultants, all in one location.
An intuitive journey to selection
Latham’s Digital Showroom takes the selection experience to the next level, offering the same experience of visiting a physical showroom, and more. Developed specifically for specifiers, it allows for maximum creativity, enabling users to mix and match almost any scheme, style or palate.
Furthermore, with access to hyper-realistic, interactive 3D models of over 1,400 of the distributor’s surfaces and finishes it will take the user on an intuitive journey, to explore every surfacing possibility across a single, or multiple, projects.
Starting out, users will initially be greeted by a user-friendly selection process, broken down into three alternative paths:
Guided Search – refining products by intended use (e.g. kitchen worktop), type (e.g. laminate), colour and finish.
Visual Search – Users can scroll through a wide range of decors and then click to view a curated selection of products similar to the chosen theme.
Quick Find – Users can go straight in, building a custom search using a wide range of descriptor tags to hone down a specific product type or brand.
Once a preferred surface has been selected, the user is taken to a dedicated page where they can see the material, colour and finish expertly rendered, as mentioned above, in a realistic, interactive 3D animation. The selected product can be viewed from any angle, under a number of lighting conditions to get an authentic impression of texture or grain.
Most importantly, in an increasingly remote-working landscape, specifiers can do all this from any location, at a time which suits them, helping them meet the project brief through seamless, painless material selection.
In the evolving age of online specification, the Digital Showroom is bringing James Latham, and its extensive collection of premium surfacing brands as close to the architectural, design and fit-out community as possible.
Sampling made seamless
The intuitive and thematic selection process is only one aspect of the overall digital showroom experience. Now specifiers will be able to interact with the James Latham decorative range like never before.
Significantly, they will be able to create a unique profile to access a dedicated hub where they can create inspirational mood boards, mixing and matching multiple styles and colours, until they find the right one for their project. These can then be saved and returned to at any time.
With the profile activated, specifiers will also be able to request samples of any selected material, delivered to their door within 48hrs of request, regardless of the time it was made.
Ultimate phy-gital engagement
Despite the wholesale move to digital, James Latham’s market research found specifiers were still keen to receive a similar experience to the physical showroom in an online iteration.
As such, beyond the presentation of the distributor’s decorative brand portfolio and its user-friendly sampling service, the Digital Showroom also offers a facility to directly engage with James Latham’s dedicated team of surfacing consultants remotely.
Following sample ordering, users will have the opportunity to book a virtual meeting, with a showroom manager, with time slots designed to fit around the busiest schedule. Here specifiers can discuss the samples and their properties with an expert who can advise on the perfect choice, whatever the brief.
News, knowledge and more
Adding further value to the experience, the Digital Showroom also offers regular updates on news and events as well as a compendium of its entire bank of CPD seminars, covering all manner of surface design and specification topics.
The Digital Showroom complements James Latham’s suite of powerful assets including its technical information hub, NBS Source integration, CPD seminars and Carbon Calculator, as well as its physical depots and showrooms.
Commenting on this landmark new service, Andrew Wright, Managing Director at James Latham says, “For over 260 years, we’ve prided ourselves on pioneering the very latest innovations to meet the requirements of our customers, enhancing their work and enabling them to deliver exceptional results. Part of this is continual engagement with our various audiences, understanding their unique challenges and how we can provide the solutions.
“Noticing a strong uptick in online specification since the Pandemic, and a more-dispersed, multi-location client base, we responded immediately with an offering which would augment our physical showrooms, bringing a like-for-like experience direct to the specifier’s location.
“The Digital Showroom delivers just that, allowing specifiers to explore our extensive range of premium surfaces with ease, at their convenience. Backed by our signature customer service and in-depth knowledge, once again we’re proving why we’re the UK’s most agile and trusted surfacing distributor.”