Interior design is commonly thought of a luxury service that depends on local firms and high prices to receive a product. However, the design market is on the brink of a complete revolution as the sharing economy is finding a foothold in the traditionally structured industry
This shift is evident in the work of Italian startup, CoContest. The company essentially serves as a crowdsourcing platform for interior design, adopting a well-worn system that has found success in other markets. Clients launch "Contests" and receive multiple proposals from competing architects and designs, choosing a winner at the end who receives a cash prize. According to the young company, its system has the ability to break open the interior design market and move the service from offline to online for good. Here are the reasons why:
1. Interior design is transitioning from a local to global marketplace.
Customers, in general, want to have as many options as possible when it comes to the providers of a certain service. As of today, interior design is a locally based service where clients consult with local firms to see if they can utilize their skills. In the future, the interior design market will expand into a global marketplace where customers will be unhindered by geographical distance and choose designers purely based on their skill and vision.
2. Online transactions are faster and more efficient than offline
Consulting with local firms is time consuming and can be extremely frustrating when all of your investment doesn't garner satisfying results. In addition, human labor from the firm's side can also cost customers overhead fees. Online transactions get rid of any extra time commitment and only keep that that is absolutely needed, streamlining the entire process. Automated features further reduce inefficiencies and keep the focus on what's most important.
3. Online interior design garners more proposals that traditional consultation
Traditional consultations with design firms produce a few proposals at most, usually with a high price tag and all in one style practiced by the designer. With an online platform, such as CoContest, customers receive multiple design proposals from a number of international designers, guaranteeing more choice and inspiration for the clients due to varied designs. The potential of interior design is quickly expanding as customers are able to receive more designs via online platforms and designers realize they can leverage this technology to engage more customers.
4. Designers can engage more customers via online platforms
Young and talented interior designers face a severe learning curve after graduation. The traditional path for an aspiring designer is to enter an established firm with minimal pay, then slowly and painfully move up the ladder. Online design platforms allow young designers to expand their professional network outside of the traditional system and prove themselves solely based on their skills, instead of being hindered by their relative inexperience. Designers can connect with potential clients through new technology, perhaps even making extra money on top of their existing salary.
5. Online services are more accessible and affordable for customers
Leveraging an online service is easy. Most of the time, everything is already laid out for you and all customers need to do is input the necessary information. Traditional consulting with interior design firms is both time and energy consuming; before settling with one design firm, most people who seek design services either travel around and visit multiple firms or ask around the community and pick a designer based on multiple recommendations. In contrast with the streamlined process of an online platform, communicating and corresponding with a designer is time consuming and often exhausting, especially for busy clients. In addition, a traditional designer charges between $50 and $200 an hour, not including overhead fees. An automated platform eliminates the human labor and therefore labor prices, resulting in a much lighter fee for the same services.