X-Rite Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., is launching Web and kiosk versions of software which the company expects to help paint manufacturers and retailers to build brand recognition and build customer loyalty.

Both versions of the software, PersonalDesigner PLUS, enable customers to upload digital photographs of their projects, identify the objects and areas to be painted and apply paint colors from a paint manufacturer's offerings. If photos aren’t available, customers can use templates and other elements of the software to build a “room” that they can paint digitally to see how it is expected to look upon completion. The software also automatically offers palettes of harmonizing colors for the customer to use as accents paints.

“The big box and smaller hardware stores all have paint departments; it’s all about differentiation,” said John Kowalski, X-Rite director of strategic marketing. “If they use this to help communicate the brand of the hardware store, they can further enhance the customer experience. It’s all about repetition and consistency across touch points. This keeps the store at top of mind and that builds loyalty over time.”

In a prepared statement, Matthew Adby, X-Rite retail market manager added that the software “builds an immediate relationship among the paint manufacturer, paint retailer and prospective buyer, so buyers are much less likely to shop around.”

Adby said an estimated 8 out of 10 prospective paint shoppers obtain paint chips from more than one brand and stores for comparison purposes, then return to only one store to make their purchases.

Even if the customer uses the Web version of the software, he will be encouraged to come into the store to use the kiosk version. Using color calibrated monitors to assure true color rendering of projects, the kiosk version interfaces with X-Rite color matching equipment such as the CAPSURE device and RM400 and i1 instruments. The software can accept color information from CAPSURE, a rechargeable, hand-held device that enables professional painters, interior decorators, do-it-yourselfers and architects a way to evaluate the colors of walls, carpets or any textured inspiration object on-site.

Kowalski added that the software enables consumers to adjust and readjust colors over a period of several months, providing for long-term planning as well as repetition of the store and manufacturer’s branding every time the software is accessed.

X-Rite preconfigured the kiosk version with participating manufacturers' paint brands, sample projects and color libraries.

The Web-based version gives paint manufacturers the ability to customize their own Web sites to include their retailer logos, a library of sample photos of projects, fan deck offerings, store locator, and connections to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. X-Rite is working with stores and with manufacturers to provide coordinated marketing materials to use online and offline.

The Web-based version also collects Web statistics to gain insight into customer preferences and response to promotional campaigns.

"What PersonalDesigner PLUS really gives the consumer is peace of mind that a project potentially costing thousands of dollars will turn out well," Adby said in his prepared statement. “And companies that offer that kind of peace of mind will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.” 

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