When augmented reality debuted, it wasn’t seen much as a business technology, mainly due to a lack of clearly defined industry-specific use cases. Today, the technology has become a real force to reckon with on the E-commerce scene. The application of AR is seeing growing acceptance across a multitude of sectors including automotive, manufacturing, education, healthcare, and real estate. However, the one industry that has witnessed major adoption of AR is the furniture industry. This is evident with major traditional brick and mortar as well as e-commerce retailers adopting the technology. The buzz around augmented reality in the furniture industry is understandable when you consider the problems inherent in the sector.
E-commerce and the Furniture Industry
E-commerce has boomed worldwide in the last few decades. It is expected that by 2019, online retail sales will have a 19.3% market share of total retail sales. Many businesses have already gotten billions of dollars from online retailing, and most consumers are turning to online stores due to the convenience they offer.
In the furniture industry, the success of e-commerce has been considerably fast over the years. While there are willing customers that visit online retail places in search of furniture, the conversion rate remains too low for some obvious reasons. It is tough to imagine how a piece of furniture will look when placed in a room or living area. The details of each product have to be accurate for its place to be guaranteed in the interior décor of a home. No matter how websites try to describe their products (even with images), it’s always going to be difficult to feel the products the way most buyers will like to feel them.
Introducing Augmented Reality into E-commerce
When augmented reality was introduced into the e-commerce space, it made one significant improvement that has resonated with the industry to create several other benefits for buyers and sellers. With augmented reality, online shoppers can see the products they want to buy in different perspectives and interact with them. This unique advantage of AR and the 3D technology has changed the furniture industry to the extent that significant players have adopted it.
IKEA, the Swedish home goods giant, was among the first companies to adopt the technology. With the creation of the IKEA Place, the company improved the online shopping experience of its customers to the extent that they quickly consolidated their competitive advantage in the market. Most other giants have adopted the technology, and smaller businesses are joining the league.
How Helpful Is the Technology?
From all indications, businesses are not just adopting AR because it is trendy in the furniture industry. It is evident that the technology is quite helpful. Since furniture sellers can create a 3D catalog of their products, it is easier for buyers to appreciate the products better. This improves the willingness to buy and, consequently, increases sales. With more people embracing e-commerce, businesses in the furniture industry that have adopted the technology are also going to enjoy a competitive advantage over those that haven’t.
For the customers, being able to view how furniture will fit in a room has also made shopping easier and more fun. With smartphones, buyers can easily scan an empty floor and place items of furniture found on the seller’s catalog to have a good feel of how it will look like before making a purchase. This is even more enthralling. Asides that, it has made decision making easier for shoppers.
Augmented reality is set to redefine e-commerce, especially in the furniture industry. For sellers, it is a major game changer, and for buyers, it integrates physical and emotional feelings in e-commerce purchase.