Thinking about building or purchasing a new home? Remodeling a room? Installing a new home theater? All these projects are exciting but at the same time, none of them can be taken lightly. Each requires thoughtful planning and execution, which includes making the right decisions with products you select and the people who install them.
MainStreet America (MSA) aims to bring the stress level down and the fun factor up for people looking for new home products and services. Located in Houston, Texas, MSA boasts twelve fully operational homes and a 44,000 sq. ft. guest center where visitors check-in and receive a schedule of events as well as their technological education device (TED). Almost every product in and surrounding the homes including building materials, speakers, touch panels, windows, fixtures and more, is ready to scan using TED’s RFID technology.
Equipped with hand held devices, visitors will take self-guided tours through each home where they can see and experience working products in installed environments. Using RFID technology, they will be able to scan “hot-spots” on products that interest them to instantly access more information about the manufacturer, features and functionality, cost, etc.
Each time a guest scans an item, they will be given the choice to save the information to his/her “Project List”, which s/he can access later through the MSA website. Through the hand held device, the guest can also request more information directly from product manufacturers – at the moment of inspiration. Manufacturers can see when a shopper scans their products through real-time, online reporting.
The shopping experience MainStreet America creates could fundamentally change the way we go about researching major home upgrades. No longer do you just walk in and read some specifications on a laminated sheet while a disinterested employee provides little more than a broad overview of the products. MSA has specified experts in all areas with years of experience in the field, not some underpaid student looking to make some extra cash on his or her weekends.
On a smaller level, MSA is a bit like visiting Brookstone and The Sharper Image at the mall. What makes these stores fun is that you can sit in the massage chairs, try out the pillow and actually use the products you might buy. MainStreet America is just like this except it’s an entire neighborhood filled with new building materials and technology that’s fun and interactive. Walk around and let your senses tell you what you like, not the black ink.
Continual rotation of products and daily demonstrations go a step further in keeping people interested. MSA is a great service for both prospective buyers and companies with home products to sell. It lets consumers experience the products before they buy them in a virtual home setting. When QR codes are scanned, partners divulge whatever information they want to highlight and can even offer an incentive to buy.
High-fidelity audio and home automation are serious purchases that should not be made without diligent research. MSA allows a homeowner to interact with Control4 systems and control units while having a product expert on-hand to answer any questions and provide support. This attention can be a great asset for a customer who just needs a little hand-holding before making the investment.
Similarly, people who love music or want the best home theater on the block shouldn’t let poor acoustics or manipulative sales people at “big box store” make the decision. Choosing the right speaker, whether it’s Paradigm or some other brand is a personal decision because it ultimately has to sound good to your own ears. Figure out which receiver will work best with your home. Maybe it’s the one you had in mind the whole time or maybe it’s that Anthem receiver you were unsure about. MSA will have several options to sample and consider.
More than Just Interactive Shopping
Beyond tour, the MSA website acts as a main hub for home information trends and resources as well. Experts are available to help buyers choose the right builder, supplier, products, etc and home buying seminars will be given to assist in areas such as energy efficiency and green construction, as well as what mortgage is best for you. The education continues with cooking demonstrations, spring gardening classes, and interior design consultants. MSA has ties with veteran home experts and has the know how to help you select solid contracting and architecture options as well.
Enjoy the seasons and current events? Main Street America has shown to be very seasonally aware, they plan to have a firework celebration for the 4th of July, a winter wonderland for December, and good old Texas BBQ competitions in the summer months. They even understand how to help couples reach a compromise with their home browsing scheduling. During football season, the televisions in the homes will be showing live games and score updates! No more excuses husbands and boyfriends.
Shopping with MainStreet America will morph you into a more confident purchaser and help people everywhere avoid buyer’s regret. Both companies and the consumers win big in this real home simulation made up entirely of products.