Apparently Augmented Reality is changing the furniture industry. Because of the pandemic and lockdowns that forced people to stay inside their homes, consumers finally started to get more into online sales, almost preferring them offline ones. With the online selling process, comes the need for consumers to experience it in a more accurate way, gaining more awareness on the product they are going to buy.
That is why Augmented Reality has become the first ally to the re-rise of the furniture industry and apparently, more than 40% of consumers would prefer spending more money and having the chance to try the product in AR rather than just trust the photos. Indeed, even though we might think that Augmented Reality is used notably for games, technological stuff and maybe clothing, things have changed by now. Research shows that more than 60% of AR items belong to the furniture category, followed by clothing and groceries, making it the most popular AR user.
Is Augmented Reality giving new life to the furniture industry?
The answer is definitely yes! Thanks to the use of AR technology, while scrolling our favorite furniture app on our smartphones, we can now have a taste of how an item looks in our home, simply by “placing” a realistic 3D version of the item in the space with our smartphone. This gives an amazing try-before-you-buy shopping experience. We can try any kind of item: a chair, a bed, a lamp, even tile and parquet, comfortably sitting on our (very material) sofa. This is for sure the first reason why Augmented Reality is giving new life to the furniture industry.
Why using an AR App in Furniture
1) To try before you buy
As said, one of the biggest advantages of the Apps using AR in furniture is that you don’t need to buy first and then see how your item fits in your space, but you can try any item from your smartphone and decide whether it is worth buying it or not. Furniture stores like IKEA know it well. With its app “IKEA Place” it has been one of the pioneers of using this immersive technology to enhance the consumer experience.
Moreover, it has now released an update where it is possible to try not just one, but several items all together. In fact, it has been studied that the use of AR technology helps retailers too, because the consumer has the chance to try a large number of items and she might be persuaded to buy more than one. Besides, this significantly reduces returns. The opportunity to try the product, without actually buying it, makes the selling process easier and turns the app into a great marketing tool.
2) To reach more people than the physical store
Another reason why Augmented Reality is changing the furniture industry is that people can turn their smartphones into an extension of the furniture stores. Indeed, it allows the store to be known from a larger number of people also far from the physical store. Potential customers can try the products from far away without having to visit the stores in person and that can create a new fidelization process, where even people who live on the other side of the country can buy from the store and become regular customers.
Obviously, there are furniture stores who solely choose to be present online. It is the case of Westwing, where dozens of items are available to be tried in AR mode. The process is quite simple: you need to choose an item, click on “virtual visualisation” and open your smartphone’s camera. Then, you need to point your smartphone on a surface (even your floor will be fine, especially if it is a table or a chair) and move it until your item appears.
3) To speed up the furniture selling process thanks to the customization
Big brands like Amazon, for instance, know that buying online is the new way of buying and they understand the power of AR to help the consumer experience. In fact, Amazon introduced on its existing app the “visualise it in your room” button. Then, you must accept its access to your smartphone’s camera and click on the green square. It is also possible to take photos and screenshots of the moment so that you can share it with everyone you want. Moreover, Amazon gives you the ability to save them, to try more than one together and it also gives you style advice and recommendations for your designs.
The use of tools such AR views creates a more personalised experience for the customer. The ways a product can be customized are numerous. Indeed, it is possible to change colors, textures, materials and much more, taking the consumer to have a major trusted sensation about buying the product, speeding up the whole selling process.
4) To have fun
Yes, Augmented Reality is changing to the furniture industry, but it is worth saying that it is not only about selling. The customer, in fact, while trying the items with the app, gets a sense of amusement, as if it was a game in which she can play. Hence, the customers are attracted to use this immersive technology and to play with it. For the most creative ones, it is also a way to enhance their creativity and find themselves becoming interior designers (at least for a while!).
The AR-media furniture’s experiences
Among the categories available in our AR-media App there is the one related to the furniture experiences, where you can try items that other creators made. Moreover, with AR-media, you can create your own furniture experience, elaborating and creating an item, bringing it to life and watching it with the App. If you want to try one of the already existing items in the AR-media App, you just need to go to the furniture section, click on the one you want to try and open it. Then, you need to move your smartphone allowing the App to map the environment and then click to see the experience. Here is a demo video of how it looks like.
With its easy, creative and different approach, AR in the furniture industry is really giving new life to the way we have always thought about furniture sales. With its opportunity to boost sales, create more engagement and make sensational experiences, we can definitely say that Augmented Reality is changing the Furniture Industry.