Commune unveils innovative furniture retail concept and targets expansion into China and the region
Oct 15, 2016

- Harnesses virtual reality (VR) and brand collaborations to reinvent the furniture retail scene

Singapore, 14 October 2016 --(ASIA TODAY)-- It is not a scene from the movies or that Avatar experience. But yes, you can virtually experience what your make-over dream lounge can be like.

For the first time in Singapore, furniture design and lifestyle brand Commune, a subsidiary of SGX-listed KODA Ltd, has unveiled its fresh, unique retail concept incorporating virtual reality (VR) to enhance customer experience and drive its sales.

With VR, customers will be better able to make purchasing decisions with a virtual check of how their choice of furniture pieces will fit in their homes – right at the store.

VR is among the new strategic initiatives Commune will launch to reinvent furniture retailing as the company marks its 5th anniversary in the business.

Mr Joshua Koh, Chief Financial Officer at Commune, said: “As we turn five, it is timely for us to refresh and offer novel choices to our customers and penetrate new markets. We have to come up with new looks, new labels and new concepts, while harnessing the latest technology to make a real difference for the customer while driving growth for the company. Using VR, customers can recreate different perspectives of their homes with new furniture and furnishings to help them decide on their purchases much more conveniently and efficiently.”

To kick off this new thrust, Commune will be working with a local technology provider to develop a VR software that is especially customised for Commune stores, both in Singapore and abroad.

Commune plans to expand its overseas footprint with the target of opening 100 new franchise stores over the next two years, 70% of them in China. It has currently 35 stores in China, three in Malaysia, and one in Australia. In Singapore, Commune has four self-owned retail stores which include a flagship store at Millenia Walk; 2 lifestyle concept stores both in Paragon and IMM and a Commune Experience Centre at Defu Lane.

Mr Joshua Koh said: “With rising affluence among working adults in China comes higher social status and living standards. An increasing number of Chinese consumers are pursuing their distinct lifestyles and identities through home living and designs. This has given rise to strong market demand for new retail concepts catering to different tastes and preferences. Hence, it is a strategic move for us to concentrate our expansion plans in China.

“The Commune brand and its innovative retailing practices are set to further penetrate into more overseas markets as we gear up our brand franchise programme in Asia. Since its incorporation in 2011, Commune has seen a 35% annual growth rate over the last 5 years.

We will continue to strengthen our brand through strong alliances with brand partners in order to harness more tech innovations to meet the ever-increasing demands of tech-savvy shoppers,” said Mr Koh.

New Brand Collaborations for Total Lifestyle Concept
In harnessing the latest state-of-the-art technology, Commune has come up with an all-rounded retailing concept for customers to select and custom-design their home interiors and furnishings to match their own lifestyle and aesthetic preferences.

To further enhance the experience, Commune has tied up with a bevy of independent brands that offer fresh choices, each with a distinctive streak such as Oo La Lab, K.Blu, Scene Shang, Onlewo (安乐窝), Comme Home and Culti. Oo La Lab is an Indie fragrance brand, providing hand-crafted scent design & mixology services. Oo La Lab will set up a ‘fragrance lab’ at Commune where live consultations take place and products are mixed in-situ for customers. Oo La Lab’s fragrances cater to the millennials, and to those young at heart who constantly seek to learn, discover and enjoy the elegant, finer, lifestyle.

Onlewo is a homegrown design studio with its own line of wallpapers and fabrics rooted and inspired by local heritage, culture as well as nature. Each print and pattern is a unique interpretation. K.Blu is an independent brand launched in 2014 – offering a selection of swimwear that leans towards a more wholesome, Asian-centric aesthetics. The fabrics used are softer and lighter, ensuring a fit and drape that is both graceful and flattering. Comme Home is a lifestyle and homeware brand that distils the beauty of minimalism in aesthetically pleasing ways in the use of marble. It aims to create a timeless appeal to complement the beauty of each product: from coffee table centrepieces to vanity trays. The Culti brand stands for lifestyle and wellness. Famous for its exquisite range of fragrances, scents and design objects, Culti aims to provide an immersive appeal to one’s five senses to nourish both body and soul.

Scene Shang is a Singapore-based contemporary furniture label exuding a rich Asian heritage. The theme of its furniture is reminiscent of 1930s Shanghai in all its former Art Deco glory.

Mr Gan Shee Wen, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Commune said: “With these novel and cutting-edge brands, Commune offers customers a journey of discovery at our concept stores. They can come here and discover a one-of-a-kind artisan cutting board, a handmade tablecloth, or a rare fashion find not available elsewhere. We’ve taken much time and effort to round up a collection of exquisite works from brands in Singapore and abroad that not only embodies impeccable designs but also appeal to our various senses.” He added: “Collaborations with such brands not only help us to stand out from the crowd but they also give us new revenue streams and market opportunities.”

Established in 2011, Commune is a home-grown furniture design and lifestyle company that crafts high quality artisanal works for the design savvy. The brand’s commitment to quality is reflected in its involvement across the full production process – from creative conceptualisation to the eventual manufacture of each final product. A strong advocate for sustainability, Commune also uses eco-conscious wood and timber imported from sustainable sources in USA and Asia.

To date, Commune has established a strong regional presence with 35 stores spanning across China, three in Malaysia and one in Australia. Here in Singapore, Commune boasts a flagship store in Millenia Walk, two lifestyle concept stores both in Paragon and IMM and a Commune Experience Centre at Defu Lane.

The company’s flagship store in Millenia Walk boasts a style curating corner where a mixologist is on site to blend sensory elements to create customers’ desired or ideal home living style.

Release issued on behalf of Commune Lifestyle Pte Ltd by Stratagem Consultants Pte Ltd

For more information, please contact:
Tham Moon Yee and Soh Tiang Keng
Tel: (65) 6227 0502

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