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Sherwin-Williams complements in-store paint swatches with color visualization app

Sherwin-Williams is updating its ColorSnap Visualizer application to enable users to scan individual color chips with their smartphones to virtually paint room scenes, underscoring mobile?s effectiveness at complementing in-store browsing.

The paint brand is rolling out its new ColorSnap suite of services, which includes an in-store display designed to make selection easier for consumers via a combination of digital and offline tools. Customers standing in front of a Sherwin-Williams display can snap an image of a paint card with their smartphone to virtually paint a room scene, allowing them to visualize how it may look on their own spaces.

?Color really is everywhere, and the feature-set in ColorSnap Visualizer takes the best of the color experience and customer service found inside of the four walls of a Sherwin-Williams store and enhances it with a variety of features,? said Megan Vickers, director of electronic business marketing at Sherwin-Williams, Cleveland, OH. ?A tremendous amount of thought went into the refreshed color palette and the way it is organized and presented in the store.

?An in-store color swatch is the truest representation of the color, but on its own, it can be difficult for many to imagine that small swatch of color filling the walls of their home, and options can be hard to narrow,? she said. ?ColorSnap is an integrated system of colors and tools online and offline that make paint color selection fast and easy.

?For instance, the in-store color wall is replicated digitally, and can be accessed on a variety of devices for easy reference and then enhanced. With the tap of a finger, any of Sherwin-Williams? 1,500 colors are presented in detail with expert recommendations for coordinating and related colors.?

Bringing color to life
Consumers with an itch for interior designing can now visit a Sherwin-Williams bricks-and-mortar store to use the interactive ColorSnap Studio display. Colors are grouped according to family, such as blue, yellow or red, and showcased by saturation level ranging from bright to neutral.

Each color family has its own rotating panel containing nearly 50 paint chips and color variations, which shoppers can pick up for closer inspection. They may then download the ColorSnap Visualizer app for iPad, iPhone or Android devices and scan the two-by-three inch color chip to receive a slew of features that can help streamline the deciding process.

Consumers will receive instant access to room scenes featuring the color of choice, enabling them to experience a better representation of what their own rooms may look like in that shade. They will also be able to view options for coordinating various colors to ensure their space will match up with expectations.

?Smartphones are ubiquitous, but moreover, they are the first source for information ? product information, price comparison and inspiration are all instantly available,? Ms. Vickers said. ?What?s specific to Sherwin-Williams is the challenge to help our customers find inspiration, provide guidance and visualize their choices in color before they purchase.

?Customers are already intimately familiar with their own digital devices, and like color, those devices are personal. We don?t want to force customers down a prescribed path for choosing colors. We want to be where the customer already is.?

Additionally, users may fine tune the color to design the exact shade they would like, which Sherwin-Williams can then whip up in-store.

Customers who prefer to take the color chip home can use the iPad app to browse inspirational room scenes that display experts? picks.

The ColorSnap system is beginning rollouts this month, with nationwide expansion to all 4,000 Sherwin-Williams stores expected to be completed by January 2016.

Bridging the gap
Sherwin-Williams is hopping on the bandwagon of brands seeking to leverage mobile in a way that bridges the gap between online and offline shopping, as well as augments the in-store experience. 

While consumers may use the ColorSnap Visualizer app from any location, it is perhaps best tapped as a shopping companion while browsing at a bricks-and-mortar location.

Shoppers can enjoy a personalized experience that allows them to peruse the displays of color chips at their own pace, scan them at their own leisure and decide which shade is best-suited to their design goals. The app may also reduce stress for busy store associates, who will now be able to offer more in-depth feedback to customers? questions.

Consumers who are wavering with the idea of repainting a room may be inspired to do so if they locate the perfect shade in the ColorSnap app, or see an inspirational room scene that reminds them of their own space.

?We hope our customers will use the tools and share their projects with us, using our hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, #SWColorLove, inspiring others and inspiring us,? Ms. Vickers said.

Mobile can serve as the ideal sway point to convince customers to try out a new product or service, especially if the strategy complements an in-store display.

Other paint brands have also cottoned on to mobile?s influence in the sector.

This past January, Dunn-Edwards Paints attempted to stay competitive in the digital paint sector with its InstaColor app and ColorView rendering tool, which allow users to test paint swatches on uploaded photos of their rooms (see story).

?We operate in a marketplace where an omnichannel strategy is required, and in an industry where physical and digital visualizations need to work in tandem to help share our color palette with our audience,? Ms. Vickers said. ?Our strategy aims to create a living color swatch for our customers on their own devices, which transitions seamlessly from the printed color swatch cards in our stores.

?With mobile, we are able to achieve our fundamental strategy: allow our customers to see it before they paint it,? she said.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York