Last year, William Sonoma spent $112 million purchasing Outward, Inc., a tech company that would help Pottery Barn and West Elm stores visualize how furniture looks in the homes. The company plans to launch a 3-D application in late September.
Integrated with Outward’s technology, the company’s mobile and desktop app, can generate realistic 3-D representations of millions of products across all of the company’s brands, ranging from couches to lamps and kitchen tables. The app will allow customers to visualize exactly how a piece of furniture will fit in a specific room, based on the room’s exact dimensions.
A designer-facing version of the room planner app has already launched for the company’s West Elm and Pottery Barn brands. Once a product is digitized, it can be taken apart into dozens of different components on the computer screen, allowing the company’s designers to quickly create different combinations and styles of products
WSJ’s Sara Castellano reported in a blog this morning, September 6, She writes, “There’s a point at which the digital era slips into the post-digital era. That doesn’t mean that digital technology goes away, rather that it becomes so integrated into life that we stop differentiating it from everything else. This is why we don’t think in terms of the electricity economy, or the era of steel or concrete. In retail, signs of this blurring are underway… Companies that are successful at integrating the digital and physical worlds will be the winners in creating new kinds of experiences for consumers in many aspects of retail and commerce, ranging from groceries to consumer goods.”
Other Retailers Launching Augmented Reality
Big box retailers both whether they be online or brick and mortar based are trying multiple augmented reality applications. A review of the current literature provides a very active picture with new applications announced almost weekly.
Ikea launched an augmented reality application for Apple, Inc. last fall. Improvement reportedly being rolled out this fall.
Wayfair recently announced a furniture shopping app for the Magic Leap augmented reality headset, betting the device can lead to new shopping experiences. But they also have an app called “View in Room 3D,” was previously available on iOS, leveraging Apple’s AR platform ARKit.
Now, Wayfair is taking advantage of Google’s ARCore to offer the same option to Android users.
Overstock is pushing an augmented reality app for a smart phone