Using Augmented Reality to Sell Furniture Online

Ecommerce offers many advantages to both buyers and sellers. Shoppers can save themselves a trip to the store by making purchases online. Sellers can connect with buyers from all over, freed from many of the geographic limitations of brick-and-mortar sales. Online retail has made these transactions mightily convenient for everyone involved. It’s no wonder an increasingly larger percentage of people are getting their shopping done online as time goes on.

But some remain hesitant to seal the deal on a product without being able to examine it up close first. So, the responsibility falls on retailers to simulate this experience as closely as possible. This led from an evolution from product photos to high-quality product videos. The next step? Brands are embracing augmented reality (AR) to sell products, like furniture, online. And 78 percent of people who have encountered AR actively prefer it over video content.

Let’s take a closer look at how AR can increase conversion rates using furniture as an example.

 

Seeing Is Believing: Augmented Reality in Ecommerce

It’s a lot to ask a new customer to buy a product sight unseen. Understandably, people want to get a detailed feel for a product before handing over their hard-earned cash. Case in point: Someone searching for the perfect armchair wants to know if it will fit in their living room and match their décor before they buy it.

AR “allows people to see how an object would appear in their environment” by allowing “computer-generated objects to coexist in the physical world with the help of mobile or web applications.” Instead of having to use their imaginations, customers can superimpose a virtual object into a real-life environment through the camera of the mobile device.

Ecommerce platforms like Shopify are enabling merchants to use AR, revolutionizing how to sell furniture online—along with any other product type, of course. One bicycle store currently helps buyers address the question of whether or not a bike will be too big for their apartment by allowing customers to “see” the bike in their actual living environments via augmented reality. Furniture sellers can do the same for large furniture like couches, beds, tables, floor lamps, etc.

When customers have more, higher quality information upon which to base purchasing decisions, they feel more confident buying. This leads to an uptick in conversion rates, to start.

 

Reducing Return Rates with AR

Merchants can also unlock the benefit of reduced return rates using AR. Simply put, customers will be able to understand better products from every angle and in the contexts of their real-world environments. There’ll be fewer “oops” and “this isn’t how I pictured it when I saw it online” moments. Buyers are less likely to be surprised by dimensions, colors, shapes, materials, etc. than if they were only able to view photographs and video.

As furniture sellers very well know, returns are a major expense because they boost supply chain costs. Many merchants are struggling to balance the fact shoppers want free and fast shipping both ways with the fact returns are downright detrimental to their bottom lines.

Returns also tend to be quite frustrating for customers, even if return shipping is cheap or free. Your brand has a much better chance of establishing a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with a buyer if they are satisfied with the furniture they receive the first time around.

Merchants are already using augmented reality to sell furniture and other products online, but we’ll only see an increase in adoption as the tech becomes more widely available. Expect major platforms like Shopify to make it more widely available in the present and near future.