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Sailing Through Uncertain Covid Times

Jarrod Sanfilippo, Managing Director, Burbank Group

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When COVID-19 hit the world at the start of 2020, forcing people to social distance and stay indoors, it challenged how all companies engaged with customers and stayed relevant and useful.

New home building was no different. With customers unable to visit display homes, it posed a significant challenge. Developers and builders had to adjust to minimise face-to-face contact as a response to COVID-19.

Burbank moved fast to innovate and launched MyPlace3D in April 2020 at the height of the “First Wave” across Australia. It disrupted the status quo by introducing new technology that changed the way Australians design their dream homes forever, and in doing so, it helped solve an immediate broader industry problem at the exact time potential customers seeking to build a new home needed it the most.

MyPlace3D is a design tool like no other. It allows customers to virtually design and experience their exact home before it is built. It features over 100 of Burbank’s home designs, thousands of floorplan options, and 10 style options that update the colour schemes, including specifications and furniture to suit customers’ tastes.

This world-first visualisation platform offers over 800,000 home combinations at the click of a button. Customers can tailor their dream home, anytime, anywhere, on phones, tablets, and computers from their living rooms, and achieve a realistic preview of the design well before the builders arrive on site.

Any floorplan can be configured to how customers will use their home, from home theatres, guest bedroom options, kitchen upgrades, to lavish ensuite upgrades.

MyPlace3D has proven a gamechanger and has been embraced by Burbank customers in lockdown who have found the technology liberating. It empowers people to experience their homes and products without necessarily heading to a display home or selection studio.

One customer told our sales staff: “MyPlace allowed me to really picture what my dream home would look like and how the spaces would feel. It was really easy to use.’’

The customer engagement was been extraordinary and continues to grow as new features and upgrades are developed in the platform. From the April launch to January 2021 the platform has seen over 3million engagements, over 1 million homes designed and 1.9 million rooms experienced.

Importantly, last year MyPlace drove customer enquiries to the Burbank website by 70 per cent, with double the number of website pages viewed.

Once the main lockdowns ended in Australia – and Victoria in particular - we had formed new relationships and goodwill with an army of new potential customers, which contributed to strong sales towards the end of 2020 and the prospect of strong future growth.

"Burbank moved fast to innovate and launched MyPlace3D in April 2020 at the height of the “First Wave” across Australia"

Like businesses generally, technology is constantly evolving, and MyPlace is no different.

Burbank continues to be bold and innovative with MyPlace, further enhancing the customer experience. The next phase of the Burbank rollout will further empower customers with enhanced graphics and functionality and give them an even greater choice by allowing them to pick their exact selections from thousands on offer.

Outside of the evolution of the technology that will enable customers to build their exact home with all chosen design choices and finishes, they’ll also be able to fully immerse themselves in the virtual experience wearing VR goggles at the Burbank Edge Selection Studio to give them the most real-life experience in their virtual new home.

Importantly, the benefit of MyPlace3D has been magnified because Burbank has worked closely with their suppliers to integrate their products into the innovative technology. This has helped boost their exposure and sales during COVID-19 at a time when their customers haven’t been able to visit their shops during lockdown. 

MyPlace3D’s supplier partners include big brands such as Austral Bricks, Smeg, Seima, Surfaces by Hynes, Phoenix, Franke, Lovelight, Decina, Cosentino, Steel-Line, Laminex, Westinghouse, and Taubmans, who are thrilled to be onboard and a part of the MyPlace journey.

As the MyPlace technology upgrades are introduced, suppliers will have access to statistics they have never had before as customers’ behaviour is tracked in the platform while they browse and choose their new home selections.

One of our suppliers told my staff: “MyPlace3D has allowed us to reach and help hundreds of new customers we would not have been able to engage with otherwise. We’re really excited about how MyPlace will continue to innovate in the future and the information we’ve never been able to access before.’’

Burbank is one of Australia’s leading residential construction companies, building more than 2,000 homes annually across Australia and employs over 800 people.

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