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Lexington Home Brands unveils versatile iPad catalog app

Users can create, share design projects
 home page Lexington Home Brands iPad appThe home page for Lexington Home Brands’ new iPad app lists some of the functions packed into the software.

THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Want to search the entire Lexington Home Brands product catalog? There's now an iPad app for that.

After six months of development, the case goods and upholstery source is rolling out an application that will not only allow dynamic searches of the product line, it will allow sales representatives, retailers, designers and consumers to view high-definition videos about the collections, create and share design projects, and access pricing information.

Lexington will have the devices available in its High Point Market showroom here for dealer use. The Lexington app will be sold through the iTunes store starting in November for $49.99, although it will be free to authorized dealers.

Phil Haney, the company's president and CEO, said the new app is an improvement on what the company has been doing electronically in its showrooms.

"We have been utilizing interactive touch-screen technology in our High Point, Las Vegas and Denver showrooms for the past two years," said Haney. "The rich imagery that we produce - via HD video and location photography - makes this an ideal marketing tool. We have found that dealers, designers and consumers love the user experience."

But he said the challenge in rolling out the program broadly was the cost required for the 42-inch LCD touch-screen unit. With the iPad, that roadblock is gone.

"With the introduction of the iPad, we were able to leverage our digital content on a device that is both portable and affordable, without sacrificing the quality of the presentation," said Haney.

The Lexington Digital Showroom App will allow searches for the company's wood and upholstery product lines by room, by item, by collection, by number or by brand. Each collection is introduced by a video that positions the lifestyle for which it was designed. An area of the app showcases the most recent introductions.

Instead of collecting paper tear sheets, consumers and designers will be able to collect and file images in any number of portfolios. Multiple projects can be managed using a folder system.

Portfolios can be e-mailed to a friend or client from within the app on letterhead that can be customized to the user, the company said.

"In designing the app, we did not want to sacrifice speed by streaming content through a wireless or 3G Internet connection," added Robert Stamper, senior vice president of marketing for Lexington. "The entire database resides in the memory of the device, offering incredibly fast search capability and no buffering of large HD video files."

That means a designer working with a client at a job site, a retailer working with a customer at a store, or a rep meeting with a new account or training sales associates won't have to depend on Internet access.

"The iPad, with its superb resolution and reasonable price, is a great piece of technology for sales and design professionals seeking an alternative to carrying around printed collateral," Stamper said.

Once the app is installed, the user can determine how frequently to update it, the company said. Updates, including changes to the product line or pricing, are managed through Lexington servers.

"While there will always be a place for collection catalogs, it is our belief that the iPad represents a viable technology option for (the) mobile professional looking to present our lifestyle message," said Stamper. "It allows us to deliver rich product imagery and functionality while maintaining control over the brand message. To that end, the iPad app will prove an extremely powerful selling tool."

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