The Houzz App is building buzz with 500,000 five-star global reviews and a “Best App” award at the 2016 Google Play Awards.
Tony Been Houzz, the ANZ Director, tells Women Love Tech what sets this app apart from the rest and has made it such a global success.
If you had to describe the Houzz app to someone who had never used it, what would you say?
With the Houzz app, people renovating or decorating their homes can do it all – on the couch and on the go. Finding inspiration and defining their style; communicating and collaborating with family or professionals; using idea books; researching and hiring professionals from architects to landscape pros; sourcing products; and managing entire renovations from start to finish – the options are many.
What are the main features of the Houzz app?
It’s available for free across iPhone, iPad and Android. Its professional directory automatically shows you top professionals in your specific local area – from architects, designers and builders – as well as their reviews to help you research and find the right professional. You can also browse more than 18 million images of professionally designed interiors and exteriors for inspiration. You can communicate and collaborate with everyone involved in your project through tools like Ideabooks and Sketch, which enables you to type or draw on an image and add stickers and products from Houzz to bring design ideas to life.
What problem were you trying to overcome/what gap in the market did you fill when you came up with the idea for the Houzz app?
Houzz was founded by wife and husband team Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen during a frustrating experience with their own home renovation. They were frustrated by the lack of resources and inspiration out there to help them articulate a vision for their home and find the right professionals who could help them. They realised they were not alone in this frustration and started Houzz as a side project to help them and their friends simplify the process of renovating and designing their homes. Houzz started as a website, but the first Houzz app was launched on the iPad in April 2010 (it was actually available the day the iPad launched!). Our goal was to create a tool that really solved the challenges of home renovating and decorating and to make the process fun and productive – we have over 500,000 app reviews globally with a five-star average rating.
Can you please explain how the Houzz app facilitates collaboration between the community?
Collaborating during your project has never been easier thanks to tools such as ideabooks, which allows you to save images of home designs and products, and sketch, a feature that allows you to draw on an image, add stickers and products from Houzz, and bring ideas to life. Both of these features on Houzz facilitate transparency between the homeowner and the professional during the renovation process and help homeowners articulate their vision for their home.
Additionally, on the platform, the discussion area is a place where homeowners can ask questions and get advice or support from both professionals and other homeowners who have been through the process themselves and are happy to share the experience.
Tell us a bit about the founding team, what were their roles, and how did they contribute to the project?
Our cofounder, Alon Cohen worked very closely with another early member of the Houzz team Guy Shaviv to build the Houzz app from the ground up.
What’s the commercial model?
Houzz built and introduced its revenue channels based on the needs and demands of its community. Houzz Industry Solutions, our local marketing subscription service, is available in Australia. It helps tens of thousands of brands and home professionals connect to and do business with homeowners.
The app boasts over 500,000 reviews with a five-star rating. How did you encourage reviews in the early launch stages and what impact do you believe the ratings have on the success of an app?
Our goal was to create a tool that really solves the challenges of building, renovating and decorating, and make it fun – it’s about building something that people need and love.
It’s about building something that people need and love.
When you deliver a solution to a problem felt by a large part of the community, they will tell each other and spread the love!
Tell us about your successful Augmented Reality (AR) feature. How does it work? Can you track growth by using AR? If so, how much extra time do you get on-site and or additional sales from using immersive media? Is AR the future for retail?
Our View in My Room 3D tool within the Houzz app (currently available in the U.S. only) enables shoppers to virtually place over a million home furniture, decor and renovating products, for every style and budget – from sofas to bathroom vanities – exactly where they want them in their homes, true to scale.
Since Houzz launched its initial version of View in My Room 3D in its app for iPhone and iPad in May 2017, over two million people have used AR when buying products in the Houzz app. People who engaged with the tool were 11x more likely to purchase and spent 2.7x more time in the app.
Over two million people have used AR when buying products in the Houzz app
We see AR as a completely new way to shop for your home and will continue to make the experience even more immersive and useful on Houzz.
What’s in store for the future of Houzz?
We will continue to create the best experience in home renovation and design. The industry in Australia and around the world is still primarily offline. There is a huge opportunity to further apply technology to make the home design and renovation process even better for everyone.
Name one proud achievement
Houzz won “Best App” at the first-ever Google Play awards in 2016.
Check out Houzz here.