How Augmented Reality Is Changing The Reality Of Furniture Sales
Augmented Reality (AR) is changing the way people buy and interact with furniture online. According to a recent study conducted by Centric Digital on US consumers, we found more people want AR as part of their furniture shopping experience. In fact, more than 60% of consumers said that they want to shop for furniture using AR.
A staggering 72% of customers in 2017 purchased products they hadn’t planned to purchase because of Augmented Reality. With so many consumers interested in shopping for furniture using AR, it is a significant risk to your furniture business if you choose not to take action. Some of your biggest competitors in the marketplace are already implementing this technology on their website to sell more furniture. Let’s take a look at how Augmented Reality is changing the furniture-buying experience.
Benefits of Augmented Reality in furniture
Since AR is a newer product visualization concept in our industry, when you implement it in your business you will already be ahead of your competition. This means that customers and competition alike will start to see you as an industry leader. That is great news for you in this competitive digital landscape. On top of being an industry leader, you will also entertain and keep customers on your site for longer. Augmented Reality is a tool that has the power to entertain and amaze your customers. The longer a visitor is on your site, the more likely that visitor will purchase.
AR engages consumers in a way that was not possible before. With Augmented Reality, you can personalize many aspects of the shopping experience and keep visitors coming back for more. Customer retention will be one of the products of implementing AR in your furniture business. When customers see the personalization, functionality, and usability of AR when searching for furniture, they will likely come back time and time again to research and buy products on your site.
As with any industry, personalization is a big plus. People don’t want cookie cutter one size fits all solutions anymore. They want to feel special and see how products tailor to their specific needs. AR gives consumers the ability to take a product and see exactly how it fits in their home.
How can AR help expand your furniture business?
Besides being an interactive tool that excites your customers, there are many ways that AR can help your business. Augmented reality gives customers the ability to virtually try out your furniture in their home. In the past, consumers had to make sure their measurements were right, go in and buy the piece, bring it home, and see how it fit in their home and decor. Oftentimes, customers did not like how the furniture fit in their space or realized that it didn’t really match their decor. This led to many returns and lower profit margins for retailers. Returns costs both the business and customer money and wasted time. With AR, returns will ultimately decrease as consumer confidence in the products increase.
How it works
MicroD’s AR software is unique in that consumers can view multiple pieces of furniture at once. This gives users the ability to compare pieces side by side instead of having to view them one at a time like most AR software. Our software not only saves time, but it makes the shopping experience much more enjoyable for the consumer and profitable for the business.
There are two types of Augmented Reality available on the MicroD platform for consumers to utilize. Still AR and real-time AR. Both forms are easy to use and run best on an Ipad because of the screen real-estate it offers.
Solution 1: Still AR
With still AR, users take a picture of the space they wish to work with and drag in their furniture of choice into the frame via product catalog data. With hundreds of product feeds to choose from, there is never a shortage of options for your customers.
Solution 2: Real-Time AR
Real-time AR uses an iPad’s camera to cast video footage of your surroundings in real-time. Pick any product you wish and start to manipulate its color, finishes and more. All changes happen right in front of your eyes through the Ipad screen. Users can go up to the furniture, inspect it, and really get a sense for the piece in a more personal way than still AR. It’s so realistic, they may even try to sit on it!
From start to finish, the experience is intuitive. Take out your iPad, open up the app and start shopping. A differentiator in MicroD’s AR software is its ability to custom drape products. With MicroD’s product visualization tool, online shoppers can drape fabric on frames and configure product silhouettes transforming furniture into unique designs and revenue-generating sales.
As visitors browse the catalog data and try out products in their home, they are likely to pair up multiple products. For example, a visitor has picked out the perfect console table for their entryway. They realize that they want to put a mirror above the table and start to look for a mirror that would match.
They now are looking at both products together and are starting to get inspired by what they see. Before they know it, they are planning out their entire space and even considering products that they were not even thinking of getting in the first place.
What does this mean for your business? It means increased sales and the opportunity to make multiple sales from one order. Many people are visual. Allowing consumers to see products in their home, paired together, gives them more confidence buying multiple pieces when shopping online.
When will your business start reaping the rewards of AR?
Augmented Reality application is a perfect fit for the furniture industry. It’s proven that consumers want the personal experience of being able to see furniture in their home in real-time. This technology benefits both the consumer and the business. With AR, consumers have the ability to interact with your products like never before which leads to increased engagement and confidence during online purchases.
This technology is not just for the large manufacturers like Ikea and Wayfair. You too have access to home furnishings technology partners that can implement AR into your business. Many furniture manufacturers and retailers are already starting to incorporate a strategy involving AR into their 2018 business plans. With such a large upside, AR is an essential piece of technology that all home furnishing businesses will need to implement into their strategy to stay relevant. Do nothing, and you risk losing sales and watching your competitors surge past you.
If you’d like to see how AR can increase sales, engagement with your products, and show your business as an industry leader, we’d love to talk. Schedule a free demo with one of our 3D product visualization experts at MicroD.