Augmented Reality electrifies sales strategies in Furniture Industry
In recent years, physical stores have faced the silent assault of digitization. Consumers are more preferring the ability to buy an item with one click and have it in their hands the following day. Not only are we willing to buy most things online, we have more devices than ever to order them from. This leads to a problem for brick and mortar stores who are left empty as people either stay at home or order items on the go from online.
Traditional Online shopping these days:
The way we shop nowadays is a lot different from how we used to shop in earlier times. Can we order almost everything from our mobile may it be a clothing item, goggles or even a furniture item. We avoid standing in long queues in front of the changing rooms. Online shopping provides us more choices, variety and we can quickly select our items without leaving our couch. Most of the brands have their online stores where the customer can select the item, he/she wants and order them. They can select from large variety of items with different variations. Brands like Amazon deliver almost everything we can ask for in a delivery time of 1 day. But online shopping has its own drawbacks in the sense that we cannot physically see what we are ordering. This cause problems for the customer and he/she has to visualize it themselves before placing an order. Although most of the companies offer a return policy if we do not like the item but means a lot of money spent by the company to pick up the item for a return or exchange order. All this can be prevented if the person can some how see how the furniture item look in their room or how the clothing item looks on them. This is where Augmented reality steps in.
Augmented reality in online shopping
Augmented Reality is an emerging technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way we shop, play games, or even communicate. AR enables us to overlay some computer-generated 3D/2D objects in our real-world environment. In simpler words, it gives us the power to change some elements of our surroundings without changing it as a whole. We have all seen the use of augmented reality in games like ‘Pokemon Go’ or have used ‘Instagram filters’. But nowadays this technology is finding its way in the retail sector where people can augment the objects in the real settings to make a better decision.
Augmented reality can be seen as an advancement for online shopping. We can already see it making a mark in various domains. On ‘Lenskart’ now we can try the frame on our digital face before buying it. This gives us a better understanding of how it looks on our face. Innovations are made in the clothing industries where we can try clothes on a digital avatar, which looks completely like us before buying it. This helps us to try various colors, sizes and designs before making a decision. Augmented reality has started making its mark many industries like shoes, watches, wallpapers, etc. Who doesn’t want to try a shoe before buying it to check whether it fits and looks good? This technology is also being used in the interior designing sector where we can augment a particular wallpaper of paint on our wall before actually applying it. We can have virtual tours of the site to give the customer an opportunity to experience the place even before when it is constructed. Augmented reality techniques are quite advanced to adapt according the lighting of our room. It can even produce shadows to give us full understanding of how it looks in reality.
Augmented reality application for buying furniture
Augmented Reality is not only being used to upgrade shopping in the fashion industry. Other industries like furniture, automobiles and electronic appliances can also benefit from it. Augmented Reality application by ‘Ikea’ is one such example of it. Furniture items are usually really expensive and heavy. It demands a lot of effort to transport them from the retail shop to our room. So, we need to be completely sure about how it would appear in our room. More importantly, would it fit in our room or not. With the help of augmented reality applications, we can select a particular item, try to place it at different places in our room or even in different rooms. We can see a variety of textures and colors. We can even adjust the scale to make sure it fits in our room. Augmented reality application development is quite advanced to give us a good idea of how the item would look in our room. We can measure the dimension of our room using Augmented reality to know exactly where we can place the item.
Virtual reality furniture applications are also making a mark in this industry. People can wear a virtual reality headset for a fully immersive tour of an apartment they want to buy. It is always better to view a fully furnished place rather than just view an empty apartment. VR furniture apps and AR furniture apps help us to make an informed decision about our purchase.Even if the customer wants some personalized furniture item to be made, augmented reality developers can develop a 3D model for it. This helps the customer to view what he imagined and make a decision according to that.
How Augmented reality furniture application boosts business sales of retailers?
These augmented reality applications even help furniture retailers in many ways. The most obvious way is that it increases the revenue as the customer satisfaction level has increased and he/she is more likely to return. This can even help the retailer in showcasing the products. For example, in a shop, a retailer can place only a fixed number of furniture articles on displays. But the number of articles that he offers can be more than what he can display. In this scenario, Augmented Reality can be really helpful for the retailer. The retailer can display digital 3D models for the articles that the shop offers. This enables the customer to see more variety of products before buying any item.
Is this solution cost effective?
Getting an augmented reality furniture application developed might seem like a very costly affair. But this is not the case. The prices are quite genuine when compared to the enormous benefits that it offers. It is just a one-time investment by the retailer. The customer gets a whole new experience of shopping with the digital furniture items augmenting on its own physical space with just a finger tap on their smartphones. This makes shopping more fun, easy and effective. Companies anyway spend huge sum of money to ensure consumer satisfaction. Give the consumer the ability to try the item before buying it is one of the best way to ensure satisfaction.
Can customers do endless customization?
The approach of augmented reality has given a boost to the customer experience by augmentation of digital model on customer’s own space and help them to customize the item as many time as they wish.
Increase Customer retention and better ROI
Technology intervention in the retail sector has helped to increase the sales for companies. People get can more options and see a different variety of products. Augmented Reality boosts this even more. People can try on the clothing items, shoes, watches, glasses on them before deciding to buy it or not. This was they can get a better understanding of how it looks and what they want. A satisfied customer is a returning customer. If people are happy with what they get, then they are more likely to return. This increases the sales of the company and also helps to build a good brand name. This would boost their sales and increase their earnings.
Upgrade brand value
Companies spend a lot of money on marketing campaigns, to build a good name for their brand. Augmented Reality can be a new and really useful upgrade for their brand. This can be helpful for marketing. No one wants a shirt that doesn’t look good on them or a furniture item that that does not fit in their room. Augmented reality helps to bring digital items in real life so that we can try them before buying them. Telling the people about this massive upgrade in their service and help them get an edge over their competitors.
Opportunity for AR during COVID-19 pandemic
During the current times of the pandemic when we cannot move freely outside our home, we cannot try the clothing items before buying them, cannot visit crowded places. Augmented reality applications can help us to buy exactly what we want without leaving our homes. We can try the clothing items on our AR avatar, augment a watch on our wrist or can augment the shoes on our feet, place furniture in our house and can simply order them to get them delivered at our doorstep. This provides a huge opportunity for the Augmented reality industry to grow reach out to maximum number of people possible. It can even help the retailers to maintain their sales even when people cannot physically visit their stores.
Present and future market trends
Presently, the retail market such as furniture, clothing, cosmetics and grocery industry has started accommodating Augmented Reality based product visualization in their sales and marketing pipeline in a very fast pace. A survey conducted by Centric Digital LLC in the year 2019 found that in U.S, people already use AR to buy furniture more than clothing, groceries, and shoes. This makes sense because there are typically different problems associated with furniture. The future trend of AR/VR is much broader and plays a significant role in the retail industries with an estimated peak of $25 Billion market capture by 2025.
Being essentially immersive in its nature, Augmented Reality surcharges a whole new facet to the online furniture industry. Augmenting a furniture in the real settings leverages a pristine layout in the mind of consumers. Such drive in the consumer aspect brings in better sales that triggers an overall growth and development in the business. Therefore, Augmented Reality is a one tap solution for any business to witness tremendous uptrend business expansion.
PS: A special thanks to Himanshu Bansal (XR Developer — Intern from IIIT Delhi. Swevens Immersive Studio) and N. Subramani ( Graphic Designer, Swevens Immersive Studio) for helping us to compose the blog content, design illustrations and application development.