Why Now Is the Time for Furniture Retailers to Adopt Augmented Reality
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted nearly every aspect of our lives, including the way we search and shop for home goods. With fewer people heading to the stores, retailers in all sectors have been forced to ramp up online operations and embrace new technologies like augmented reality (AR) in order to keep up with customer needs.
For furniture retailers in particular, AR presents a huge opportunity by allowing customers to visualize a product in their own space, all while taking important details like size and fabric pattern into account. This creates a more convenient and personalized customer experience that ultimately results in more sales.
No better time to invest in AR
For starters, customers are looking for innovative online solutions as they stay closer to home.
Online shopping is the new normal, but customers want brands to go above and beyond the standard ecommerce experience. Since the beginning of March, we’ve seen a 600% increase in AR usage through our customers’ websites, which demonstrates the considerable appetite for immersive capabilities.
Another advantage of advanced AR technology is that it leads to more sales. With true-to-size 3D models, AR enables brands to bring their products to life in the familiar spaces of their customers’ homes. This has a significant impact on conversion rates—our customer data shows a 150% increase in conversions and a 25% decrease in returns when customers are using AR.
What brands should know before getting started
Before you commit to building out your AR capabilities, it’s important to consider what your specific goals are and how AR can help you reach them. Here are a few questions to get started:
What types of features do you need? — Surface mapping and tracking capabilities are the bread and butter of AR for furniture retailers. These are the features that enable people to see what products will look true to size, without needing to break out the measuring tape or rearrange the living room.
How are people going to access this content? — Brands that use AR through their websites will reach a much larger audience than those that require users to download an app. Embedding AR directly into a picture helps remove any barriers for the customer trying to visualize the product and makes for a more seamless experience.
What does your budget look like? — Getting started with AR can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Many brands will turn to a tech partner to help them develop a custom service and make sure they’re getting the most value for their money, rather than starting from scratch.
AR is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity for any furniture retailer trying to keep pace with the shifting ecommerce landscape. The brands that adapt to these new technologies now will be better positioned to thrive in the long run.
Jon Cheney is the CEO and co-founder of Seek, which delivers best-in-class augmented reality content and services to companies all over the world, with a primary focus on web-based AR solutions for retail, e-commerce and education.
Furniture Industry News and in depth magazine articles for the furniture retail, furniture manufacturers, and furniture distributors.
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