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It seems like every category has taken a spin in the ecommerce limelight since the online shopping concept took off with consumers through books and music. Now, it’s finally furniture’s turn to take center stage with help from some cutting edge augmented reality technology that brings the showroom to your living room. Make way for the new furniture-tech wave.
Modsy and William Sonoma, Inc. (WSI) lead the charge in this uncharted home furnishings tech space, integrated 3D augmented reality and 3D rendering to allow consumers a virtual furniture “try out”. Better than fumbling around a store with a tape measure and poorly lit iPhone photos, companies like Modsy and WSI encourage customers to instead break out their laptops. Superimpose your favorite pieces into the desired room and boom—you can visualize your brand new living room and you didn’t have to go back and forth between showrooms and home to figure out the perfect fits.
And that’s just the beginning. What else are traditional furniture stores doing to improve both the in-store and ecommerce shopping experiences with technology?
This article was originally published in Forbes: How Augmented Reality Is Giving Furniture A Boost In Sales You can also dig in deeper by reading the full article below.
HOW AUGMENTED REALITY IS GIVING FURNITURE A BOOST IN SALES
As more and more purchases move online, new categories of products start gaining ecommerce traction. Books and music were the first to establish a dominant ecommerce presence because consumers didn’t need to touch those items to experience their quality. With the invention of user reviews, categories like electronics quickly gained a foothold online. Although apparel was slower to find online adoption because customers were accustomed to trying on clothes at a physical store, the offering of free shipping and returns launched apparel into the ecommerce stratosphere.
Now, it’s furniture’s time to shine online, but the category requires completely new tactics. While user reviews help customers understand the quality and feel of different products, they can’t help a buyer see how the piece actually fits in a room. Furthermore, given the size of furniture items, shoppers can’t exactly drop them off at the nearest UPS box if they don’t quite match their other decor. Yet, according to IBISWorld, 15% of the $70 billion US furniture market has moved online. How are furniture retailers fueling their online growth?
Thanks to new technologies like augmented reality, 3D rendering and computer vision, the furniture industry is finally having its online moment. Recently, Williams-Sonoma, Inc (WSI) acquired Outward and design solution Modsy secured $23MM in new funding. And this is just the beginning of the furniture-tech wave.
How exactly is technology boosting online furniture sales?
1) Augmented reality enables customers to virtually “try out” furniture.
For example, Pottery Barn’s 3D Room View app for iOS allows customers to instantly stage new furniture items at home using their iPhone or iPad. Customers can see an augmented reality view of their room and drop in full sets of furniture for consideration. According to WSI CEO Laura Alber, augmented reality and 3D rendering are “fundamental for driving and changing the shopping experience. The home furnishing business deals with a lot of expensive products that are hard to imagine in your space. We see this as a wonderful shopping tool that will enhance the shopping experience by enabling consumers to visualize the products in their own homes.”
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