Consumers faced many challenges in the past when buying furniture. A lot of guesswork was involved when figuring out if a piece would fit the home or if another color would look good. The rise of interior design using virtual reality changed everything. Now, with augmented reality interior design, consumers can design it for themselves. They can place digital renderings of furniture inside photographs or videos of their own home. This essentially helps them visualize the furniture in their own space before they buy. Going a step further, many AR interior design applications allow consumers to do other things, like paint walls and replace flooring. Instead of relying on an interior designer, consumers are now doing the design work themselves.
This shift in technology is simultaneously shifting the consumer mindset and how they renovate their homes. Here’s how 3D technology and augmented reality is shaking up the world of interior design, and how you can use this new technology to your advantage.
Taking Consumer Guesswork Out of Buying Furniture
Augmented reality interior design helps to take a lot of the guesswork out of buying furniture. This is particularly true when it comes to measurements, color, and overall just visualizing what a piece of furniture really looks like. Consumers no longer have to guess whether a sofa they like will fit in their homes. Augmented reality applications already have the measurements of the item stored in their databases. The consumer simply uploads a photo of their space to the application and add the furniture. The program takes measurements of the area using the photo and lets them know if there are any size concerns.
Consumers can also visualize the front, back, sides, and even the bottoms of furniture pieces. They can manipulate the digital image any way they like. The only thing more realistic is stepping foot in the store and seeing the item for themselves. Consumers can also “drape” furniture with new colors and patterns. Forget having to imagine if the blue upholstery will look better than the brown. Now, consumers can find out before they buy. Today’s shopper truly appreciates this level of control over their shopping experience, and the ability to visualize first helps drive the purchase.
Custom Furniture Possibilities
Augmented reality and 3D technology also bring new possibilities to custom furniture design. In the past, custom furniture design visualization was limited to sketches or pixelated computer images. Consumers could get a vague idea of what a piece of furniture could look like, but the rest was up to their imagination. Custom furniture design was also limited to designers. The average consumer had no way to create custom furniture on their own. They had to communicate their ideas to a professional designer, who developed the aforementioned sketch or image. Now, augmented reality has solved most, if not all, of these frustrations.
Consumers can now “drag and drop” furniture components into a digital program to configure the sectional of their dreams. Customers with unique spaces that require furniture in non-standard shapes and sizes now have options at their fingertips. They can mix and match different furniture components, choose sizing and color, and craft their own one-of-a-kind piece. Coming full circle with AR, the consumer can also take their newly designed piece and put it into a rendering of their own home. If they’re ready to order, they can usually do so right from the application. The application provides the correct specs to the manufacturer and retailer, so the custom piece is brought to life exactly as the consumer imagined it.
Mobile Technology in Interior Design
Mobile technology has allowed augmented reality to develop at an astonishing rate. While a consumer might think that they need to plug in the measurements of a room for the application to render the image accurately, this isn’t the case. The consumer can simply use their mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets are essentially tiny computers, giving them a wide range of capabilities. Paired with the growing technology of augmented reality, accurate renderings can be done without the consumer taking any measurements at all. The device and the app do all the work.
This makes it incredibly easy for consumers to enjoy renovating their spaces inside an augmented reality application. After all, an increasing number of consumers use only a tablet as their primary computing device instead of laptops or traditional computers. Augmented reality and 3D technology applications allow furniture retailers to reach consumers where they are at. If consumers are on their mobile devices, furniture retailers should be there too. Mobile technology becomes essential because consumers are less likely to put in the effort to use augmented reality and 3D programs by uploading pictures to their Mac or PC.
Visualizing the Entire Space
Another challenge that consumers faced in the past was the inability to visualize how a space would look. The best consumers could do was look at furniture, paint, flooring, and accessories separately. The rest was up to their imagination. What paint color would complement the flooring most? Would the existing drapes clash and need replacing? Does an oval cocktail table work or would a rectangular one maximize space? Much of these details were decided on a “try it and see” basis. You couldn’t fully visualize a space until you put it all together. That was, of course, after you spent the time and money to renovate.
3D technology and augmented reality has changed this difficult obstacle. Consumers can now completely redo their living rooms, home offices, dining rooms, and bedrooms. They can paint the walls, change the flooring, update the drapes, and add new furniture. They can try a variety of combinations until they find the one they like best. Today’s consumers want more options when shopping than ever before. Augmented reality gives them access to every possible option, allowing them to customize their space in ways the industry never thought possible.
How Augmented Reality Drives Sales
Most consumers who use augmented reality interior design software end up spending a lot of time with it. Not only is it helpful to be able to mix and match design elements to create a custom space, but it’s also fun. As a result, consumers become emotionally invested in their creations. They’ve spent time crafting their “perfect” area, giving it character and personalizing it to their own tastes. The fact that these changes were made in a virtual replica of their own home makes the dream seem even more within reach.
This emotional connection that consumers develop with their customized designs helps drive sales. Augmented reality creates a level of brand transparency never before seen in the furniture industry. When consumers can see every piece at every angle in every color, they feel like the company has nothing to hide. This builds trust, which helps nurture the consumer through the buyer’s journey. When consumers feel educated and in control, they are more likely to make a purchase. 3D technology and augmented reality can help make that happen.
How Consumers Save Money with 3D Technology
Augmented reality interior design software does a lot to help the retailer. It’s also highly beneficial for the consumer, beyond having control over the design elements. Consumers can save money by using augmented reality technology to make purchasing decisions. AR tech allows for accurate measurements of the consumer’s current space and the new furniture, ensuring a successful fit. How many consumers have lost money purchasing a couch that was too big for the space by just an inch? What happens if the chair they thought would look good in their den doesn’t and the retailer has a limited return policy? It’s not uncommon for consumers to be stuck with expensive purchases that don’t work for them.
Consider other interior design changes. It’s difficult to know if a paint color will look good by a paint chip or a swatch painted on the wall. Consumers don’t often get the true impact of what a paint color will look like until it’s up on all the walls. It may not look quite the way they pictured it and the chances are high that they’ll paint over it. This costs time and money, all because they weren’t able to really see what it would look like ahead of time. With AR, they can. When they make a purchase, consumers can be confident that what they’re buying will look good.
Will Augmented Reality Replace Brick and Mortar Stores?
Some furniture retailers are afraid that augmented reality and 3D technology will replace the traditional brick and mortar furniture store. There is some truth to this. Consumers are shopping online now more than ever before. However, retailers should note that augmented reality is unlikely to make a significant impact on in-store sales. In fact, it may boost them.
Consumers who solely make a purchase online were likely already going to do so. They had reached the point in their buyer’s journey where they felt best about making a purchase from the comfort of their home. At this stage, it’s about finding the right online retailer. AR tech can help retailers keep up or even stand out from the competition. For many other consumers, they’re just starting their buyer’s journey online. They’ve come to learn and explore, and AR will help them do that. For big purchases like furniture, most consumers still want to head into the store to see merchandise in person and to develop a rapport with the company. Retailers need not be concerned that if they employ augmented reality interior design software on their website that they’ll start to lose their customers. Quite the opposite, in fact.
How Consumers Can Use Augmented Reality
Most consumers don’t walk into augmented reality interior design software automatically knowing how to use it. Retailers that make the effort to give their customers a tutorial and a few navigation tips will see bigger returns. Let consumers know that the best results are achieved when the space they’re photographing with their mobile device is empty. It’s much more difficult for augmented reality programs to configure measurements and create an accurate looking space if there’s a lot of other furniture already in the room – however, it’s not impossible.
Creating tutorial videos to walk their potential customers through using the augmented reality program is also a helpful idea. Another great way to help consumers use the technology is to put graphics on the website that indicate when a product photo is interactive. A graphic that says “360 spin” indicates that a consumer can move the photo around to get a better look at the product.
Augmented Reality Interior Design: The Future is Now
Augmented reality is truly shaking up the interior design industry, but there are so many benefits to be gained by both retailers and consumers. If you are a furniture retailer, consider how augmented reality and 3D technology can transform your business. AR programs can help you better market to today’s tech-savvy consumers who are hungry for creative control.
OmniVueXR by MicroD is a superior application that allows you to create accurate digital renderings of your products. You’ll be able to allow your potential customers to fully explore your product offerings, building trust and rapport along the way. Contact us today for more information about augmented reality software and how it can help take your furniture and interior design business to the next level.