Latham's Digital Showroom

The brief

James Latham, experts in timber and decorative surfaces, came to us during 2020 with an idea for a virtual showroom. Their physical product showrooms weren’t seeing the same footfall due to lockdown, and they wanted a way to showcase their products so that customers could still engage with them, get an understanding of their materiality and properties, and order samples online.

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Understanding our personas

We began by running a series of interviews with Latham’s target customers, who predominantly sat within the art and design world. We spoke to a mix of architects, interior designers and property developers, all of whom still had construction projects underway during the pandemic, to understand what they were looking for from this platform. This insight work led to a refined brief — a digital showroom that allowed customers to view products in a range of ways, create swatch boards for comparison and have access to a member of the Latham’s team as part of their ordering process.

Overview of different stages of the material selection process, on mobile and desktop.
Image of a product page, showing the interactive material sample and alternative materials to the side.

User-informed search routes

Each of our three personas had a specific way that they needed to search the showroom. This led to us crafting three search routes through the site:

  • A visual search, for users who wanted to see a range of products quickly and choose from them based on their aesthetics.
  • A guided search, which gave users options to choose from, based on the traits of a material. Where is this material being used? What finish are you looking for?
  • A quick find approach, designed for users who knew what they were looking for and could quickly select from a list.
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Exploring the products

The products themselves needed to be represented as accurately as possible in the digital space. Using product photography and physical samples as a reference, we created 3D models of every product. A custom pipeline was built to automate and create eight different images including the depth, reflectivity and roughness of each material — all from a single reference image! Users can interact with each product, getting a sense of texture and how it reacts to light, helping to replicate the experience you would get from being in a physical showroom.

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User account area

With our target audience being predominantly within the architectural and design space, we knew that having a visual comparison would be a useful tool. We developed a user account area where customers can create a profile and pull together projects and product swatch boards to help their decision making process. Not only that, but users can request samples and directly book a virtual consultation with a member of the Latham’s team, should they need any more information.

Project details page, showing a shortlist of materials.

An expanding catalogue

Latham’s Digital Showroom now holds over 2,000 products and continues to grow. The platform has also picked up a number of awards and highly commended recognitions in the Construction Marketing Awards.

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Different materials displayed in an isometric grid.

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