Amazon Launches New AR Shopping Tool for Home Furnishings
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Amazon announced this week that it is rolling out a new augmented reality (AR) shopping tool, called Room Decorator. This tool allows shoppers to view how furniture would look in their own homes before finalizing their purchase decision.
Room Decorator was designed to assist customers in styling their homes virtually, with furniture from Amazon and its third-party sellers. It allows shoppers to visualize multiple items simultaneously, and the customer’s virtual room can be saved for editing and deciding to buy later.
In addition to placing furniture around in their room, customers can also view product recommendations and add items to their cart without leaving the AR platform. Furniture items are shown in high-definition and are scaled to size, providing a premium viewing experience.
The tool can be used on both mobile devices and desktops, so customers can switch between devices when editing their saved virtual room. They can also access their saved rooms when they are away from home.
The Room Decorator feature is now live for 50% of all Amazon U.S. iOS users. The remaining half will have access over the next few weeks and it will be available to Android users over the next few months, as the tool’s rollout continues.
Amazon Builds Up Its AR Offerings
The Room Decorator tool is not Amazon’s first foray into augmented reality, giving customers the “try before you buy” advantage. In 2017, Amazon launched an AR shopping tool for its iOS mobile app, which allowed users to virtually see items like electronics, small kitchen appliances, and toys in their spaces.
In 2019, Amazon enhanced its home décor shopping experience even further, with its Showroom feature. This tool allows shoppers to save different wall and floor colors, then add furniture, lamps, and other accents to create a virtual living room. Customers are then able to transfer all items to checkout with one “Add to Cart” button.
With a customer-first mentality, Amazon says the new Room Decorator tool is its latest effort to offer shoppers an immersive experience from the comfort of their own home. With social distancing, remote learning, and working from home still in effect due to the COVID-19 crisis, the launch of the tool is timely for both consumers and sellers.
Home Décor and Furniture Categories See Explosive Growth
With many people confined to their homes during shelter-in-place orders, and non-essential brick-and-mortar businesses forced to close their doors, consumers have had no choice but to turn to digital shopping to meet their needs.
For lots of shoppers, that included furniture and products needed to create a comfortable work-from-home space. For many families with children, it was setting up a productive space for homeschooling. Additionally, being at home all day made many consumers want to improve their home environments, including their indoor and outdoor living spaces.
As a result, home furnishing retailers saw this impact in the form of significant sales growth. For example, Wayfair, the furniture and home décor e-retailer, saw a blowout second quarter, reporting a quarterly sales increase from $2.3 billion to $4.3 billion. Even more surprising, Wayfair earned a profit of $274 million, which was the first time the company turned a profit since it went public in 2014.
According to the Feedvisor 2020 Q4 Trends and Projections report, Home and Kitchen sales on Amazon and Walmart’s digital marketplace were up 21% in March compared to February. By July, consumer impressions for the Home and Kitchen category had increased more than 150% since February. With category sales growing in July and July, ad spend also began to rise. For Home and Kitchen, it had more than doubled in July over May.
Looking Ahead for the Furniture Category
With the fear of a second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks, the digital shift of consumer shopping behavior, and remote working and schooling continuing around the county, another surge of remarkable e-commerce growth is expected for Q4 across many categories, including furniture and home décor products.
According to Feedvisor’s Q4 report, e-marketplace sales for the Home and Kitchen category are forecasted to increase 18%–25% in Q4 compared to the year prior.
Amazon’s Home Decorator tool could not have come at a better time. With the holiday shopping season approaching, and Amazon’s rescheduled Prime Day set to take place in October, home furnishing brands can now utilize this new AR feature to drive consumer interest in their products and help convert impressions into sales.