Today’s online audience is more discerning than ever before. Users want to engage with websites that offer rich, dynamic experiences, especially when the prospect of spending money is involved. Online shopping is beginning to dominate the retail space, but it’s not enough to simply display high-quality photos of products. Never has this been more apparent than in the furniture market. In the past, furniture shopping has always been done in-person. Getting a feel for a piece of furniture before making a purchase was considered critical. In the age of Amazon, in-person shopping anywhere – for anything – is becoming outdated. This is where we find 3D product visualization and augmented reality for interior design.
When shopping online for furniture, augmented reality design attracts more consumers. They want to see every angle of a product. Also, your shoppers want to have the ability to customize its look and to be able to visualize it in their home. 3D imaging and augmented reality make this a possibility. Thus, large-scale home furnishings retailers are already capitalizing on the innovation. Brick-and-mortar furniture stores need not be afraid of the digital age. They too can embrace AR technology and build interactive websites that boost search engine rankings. They too can provide consumers with engaging online shopping experiences.
What 3D Imaging and Augmented Reality Does for the Furniture Industry
Understanding how 3D imaging and augmented reality create a dynamic consumer experience is key to implementing it in a way that enhances the consumer experience. Augmented reality resolves several consumer pain points. An example of this is the challenge of selecting furniture when you can’t “see” it and the desire for the convenience of shopping online. AR and 3D imaging technology allows consumers to do both. Consumers can fully visualize a piece of furniture from the comfort of their own homes or even on the go.
With 3D models, consumers can view a product in all its dimensions. They can rotate, spin, animate, and zoom the image to see every angle. Draping technology can take 3D imaging a step further by allowing the consumer to visualize how a product looks in different colors, patterns, styles, and finishes. Enabling shoppers to truly see a product, especially a piece of furniture, can help nurture them through the sales funnel.
For many furniture retailers, 3D modeling simply isn’t enough. Consumers don’t just want to see what the product looks like – they want to visualize how it looks in their own spaces. Perhaps the sofa they’ve fallen in love with doesn’t look quite right in their living room. Maybe the chair they want in blue looks better in charcoal. AR technology makes this a reality. Furniture retailers can offer consumers an application within their website that allows them to completely renovate their rooms with pieces from the retailers’ collection.
Augmented reality breathes life into how consumers shop for furniture. It gives them the power to create their own spaces while simultaneously cultivating sales. Users can drop in entirely new furniture arrangements, increasing the potential that they’ll purchase more than one piece. They become emotionally invested in their creations and how they’ve designed their area. This leads to increased follow-through and reduced cart abandonment.
It’s not all about design though. An essential part of furniture shopping is determining if the pieces are the proper size for the space. There are few things more frustrating than falling in love with a piece of furniture and placing an order, only to find out it won’t fit through the door or it’s much too small for the area it was intended to go in. In the past, this problem was resolved by heading to the furniture store, taking out a tape measure, and comparing its measurements to the measurements of the space. This was time and effort-intensive and often wasn’t accurate.
Now through high-quality online product descriptions , 3D modeling, and AR technology, product sizes and the consumer’s room dimensions are captured by the mobile device. When taking a picture of the design space the software automatically renders the pieces to scale. Consumers can drop in the furniture that they like without concern that it won’t fit. The application will let them know if a piece is too large or too small for the space.
3D modeling and augmented reality does as much for furniture retailers as it does for consumers. 3D and AR tech doesn’t just improve the overall consumer shopping experience. It also allows furniture retailers to create modern, functional websites. Plus, it boosts search engine rankings for overall improved website performance and engagement.
Augmented Reality and Website Design
Design plays an important role in how users can engage with a website. It’s not all about complementing colors and how pleasing a website is to the eye. While those are still important considerations, functionality and how the website works is the key to optimizing conversions and creating a space where users can participate.
Augmented reality can accomplish both – it offers stunning visualizations that captivates users and gives them the opportunity to become more involved. There are a variety of ways augmented reality can be utilized in website design to create a dynamic consumer experience.
With video becoming an important website ranking factor, online furniture retailers will begin using their AR applications to create rich, interactive content. Video tutorials of how consumers can use the AR technology on a website are extremely valuable and can help consumers learn the tools quickly, so they can start engaging right away.
How 3D visualization Affects Search Engine Rankings
Google algorithms are constantly changing. As artificial intelligence gets smarter, search engines have gotten better about understanding what makes a website valuable to consumers. Algorithms don’t rank pages based only on the number of times a specific keyword is mentioned in the content. Instead, they gather complex information that estimates how engaged a user is on a page. How long are users spending on the page? Do they arrive at the page and immediately click off? Does the page elicit deep clicks?
When consumers are highly engaged with a website, Google understands that the website offers value and the site is more likely to rank higher in search results. While this explanation is an extremely simplified version of what Google actually does to determine how website pages should rank, it provides an understanding of how augmented reality can positively affect rankings.
Online furniture retailers that offer 3D room planner tools allow users to become deeply engaged with their websites. It’s not uncommon for users to spend hours exploring how furniture pieces will look in their homes using 3D rendering, whether they ultimately end up making a purchase or not. When combined with other powerful digital marketing techniques like PPC, SEO, and authoritative content, 3D visuals can be the key to dominating search engine results.
3D Trends for 2019
In the next year, expect to see more furniture retailers using 3D modeling and augmented reality for interior design in their websites. AR will move past its “beta” stage and start becoming standard in the furniture industry – and retailers that haven’t incorporated augmented reality will likely see a decline in their overall sales as web-savvy consumers choose competitors that do have advanced imaging.
Customization will likely be at the forefront of augmented reality for interior design as users demand even more interactive experiences, a trend that will span across more retail industries than just the furniture sector. If a product comes in different colors, styles, or finishes, consumers want to be able to visualize them. Draping technology, which is available now, will become a necessity for furniture retailers if they plan to stay competitive.
Comprehensive Product Visualization
Consumers want to see every angle of a product before they make a purchase. They want to be able to visualize the top, bottom, front, back, and sides of a product, especially regarding furniture. In 2019, expect to see more furniture retailers incorporating full product visualization. 360-degree rotation can allow a consumer to fully interact with a product in such a way that they have a similar experience to shopping in-store.
3D Product Configuration
While search engine optimization is an important part of an overall marketing plan, it all boils down to conversions. Great SEO and PPC advertising can get more users to a website. If those users don’t convert into sales, then you waste those efforts. This coming year, expect to see 3D technology that goes one step beyond full visualization and allows consumers to effectively build their own products.
Product configuration increases conversions because consumers feel emotionally invested in their three-dimensional creations. They’ve spent time designing the perfect piece of furniture and have visualized how it will look in their space. This emotional investment lowers the risk of cart abandonment and makes a purchase more likely.
3D Room Planning
Another upcoming trend in 2019 technology is for furniture retailers to offer design capabilities beyond the products they sell. Augmented reality for interior design is the most popular in room planning. For example, room planning technology allows a shopper to change the color of the walls, the flooring, drape fabric, pick finishes, style and color, and much more. Furniture stores might wonder why they need an application to change wall color when they’re not a paint store, but essentially, this tech enables them to become at-home interior designers.
Being able to change simple things like drapes or flooring gives consumers a feeling of being in control of their space while helping to generate sales. For example, a consumer may drop in an armchair, but they don’t like the way it looks in their room. By simply changing the wall color, however, they can make the armchair that they love work for their space and they’re one step closer to making a buying decision.
The application allows for ultimate design flexibility. They can change, arrange, and rearrange their space multiple times with just a few clicks. This eliminates the uncertainty of purchasing furniture pieces they’re not sure will look good in their space. It also minimizes the effort of renovating time and again. Expect to see more furniture retailers offering full room design technology in 2019. Consumers are driving the online market to utilize technology that offers them a completely customized shopping experience.
Should All Furniture Retailers Start Augmented Reality?
Furniture retail businesses that have yet to incorporate any type of 3D imaging or augmented reality for interior design are likely to be surpassed by competitors that do make the technology available to their target markets. As digital technology grows and becomes easier to use, consumers are looking for more convenient ways to shop. Brick-and-mortar furniture stores don’t need to close their doors just yet. However, businesses that want to stay relevant must keep up. That means developing a dynamic website that caters to what users want. And users want a rich, interactive shopping experience that allows them to “see and feel” furniture at their leisure before they make a purchase. Whether they’re at home or on-the-go, they want to be able to shop with complete freedom and total customization capabilities.
Although incorporating 3D imaging and augmented reality technology is a significant investment, there’s little that suggests it’s not worth it. Cultivating rich, interactive, and fully customized shopper experiences while simultaneously improving website design, search engine rankings, and sales is no small feat. 3D product visualization and augmented reality gives furniture retailers the power to do exactly that. This makes them a fierce competitor in the industry. Furniture retailers that embrace the market’s desire for next-level online shopping experiences will certainly reap the rewards in 2019.