Sofa, wardrobe, chair or even new pieces of graphic art are those kinds of goods that are more expensive and stay with customers for longer than for instance a jumper. Furniture decorates our houses, flats, or gardens for years. We have contact with them every day. Therefore, these purchasing decisions are less likely to be impulsive. They require a longer verification process to ensure they fit the space in which they are to appear. Selling these types of goods requires rethinking the technologies and tools that are being used online
Where is the furniture ecommerce heading?
Recent years have brought fundamental changes in sales processes, including furniture companies. The necessity to close stationary stores, canceled trade fairs, problems with the availability of materials, logistics, and the work of subcontractors were just some of the circumstances that had to be faced. Each day is a risk of losing customers, income, production bottlenecks or deteriorating relationships with the supplier.
Many companies found it difficult to move their sales online immediately while others were able to make good use of the situation. Now that many entrepreneurs have found their way around in the dynamically changing circumstances, it is clear which brands are satisfied with the online channel as a temporary one, and which are building a long-term e-commerce strategy.
What are the tools to sell online effectively?
Although many customers still have a need to see and touch furniture before buying, research shows that 8 out of 10 customers in 2020 bought at least one furniture product online. Ecommerce channel accounts for over 90% of growth in general for the entire industry. So there is a growing interest of customers in buying furniture online, but in order to meet these needs and take advantage of the demand, appropriate technologies and a high-quality shopping experience are necessary. Selling furniture online requires a unique approach due to the specificity of the purchase, it is necessary to provide the customer with an experience similar to that in the showroom, i.e. seeing the furniture in its real dimensions, variants and scale.
What could provide such an optimal shopping experience? Photos and visualizations are not enough to stand out from the competition and avoid customer concerns related to the purchase, and thus effectively minimize the number of abandoned baskets.
Large e-commerce brands with resources will use every advantage to attract customers and provide them with the best shopping experience. However, new technologies have democratized the market, and now also medium and small entrepreneurs can use inexpensive ways to present their products online in a unique way. For the furniture industry, a must have tool is AR, which allows customers to display true-to-scale 3D models in their interiors using only their mobile.
Web-based furniture Augmented reality
AR is a must -have tool for the furniture industry. It allows customers to display true-to-scale 3D models in their interiors using only their smartphone. AR allows clients to make a responsible buying decision and increase user engagement in the shopping process.
How does it look in real life? When visiting the brand’s website using a smartphone, the customers can display the viewed product in their own house, apartment, yard or office. They literally stand in front of a real looking virtual product as if it appeared in front of them in reality. The furniture can be rotated, fit into the selected space and then smoothly proceed to the purchase. All this using a phone display. It’s worth noting that all high-quality AR solutions also engage desktop computer users by simply generating a QR code that needs to be scanned using a smartphone, in order to seamlessly jump into the AR experience.
A well-known precursor when it comes to the use of Augmented Reality in furniture sales is Ikea with its ‘Places’ app. As much as it can be an interesting tool, at Ar-range we never recommend developing AR apps to our clients. Thanks to tech development, we don’t need to develop an app to create an astonishing AR experience. Web-AR, a solution that allows us to display AR directly within the mobile browser. Recent studies show that web-AR generates around 33x less friction than traditional apps when it comes to client engagement. It’s simple - we want the client to follow the sales process within the ecommerce store, rather than lose focus on installing external apps. Using webAR, we let it blend seamlessly into the user journey along with all other sales tools and channels.
4 reasons to include webAR in your sales process
AR has already proven that it can add enormous value to consumers when it comes to the shopping experience. According to a study conducted by Shopify, a leading ecommerce platform, "interactions with products containing AR content showed a 94% higher conversion rate than non-AR products."
By using AR, you can shorten the shopping process, giving customers less space for hesitation, questions and doubts.
Distinguish yourself from the competition thanks to an exceptional shopping experience
A better purchase decision also reduces returns
5 steps to implement AR in your ecommerce
Grab your 3d models
The first step is probably already behind you. You simply need to have 3d models of the furniture (or other products) that you offer. It’s very likely that you have those assets already and are sharing them e.g. with architects. Basing on those models, you will be able to generate high-quality AR product depictions to use within your store (both iOS and Android).
Additional tip: 3d models are more or less like a foundation for a building - they don't look cool on their own, but are a starting point to go up. With a good-quality 3d model library you have full freedom of actions not only in AR but also: static visualisations, closeups, 360 animations, configurators, Instagram-based AR - all the solutions that are becoming a must have in an e-commerce boom era.
Choose the technology
Large e-commerce companies such as Wayfair or Ikea invest significant resources in their own AR applications. However, the most user-friendly and what’s important - budget-friendly is webAR, which does not require creating and downloading a mobile app. It’s available directly on your website. AR-range has developed a solution called ‘AR widget’ - a ready-made tool, thanks to which in 30 minutes you can make your products available in webAR without worrying about integration.
Generate AR content
If for any reason you decide to build an app, you will now be facing the pain of designing a new UI together with your agency, figuring out how to integrate the app within your current sales process and a couple of other dilemmas. However, if you decide to go for webAR, you can jump straight to the exciting part - content creation. Using Ar-range tools, you simply upload your 3d models, choose the colours and texture and watch as the 3d files turn into a lifelike AR experience.
You also don't worry about integrating AR in your furniture ecommerce - but more on that in step 4.
Integrate with your website
When developing AR with Ar-range, you don’t face any integration issues. All the AR content is presented using a widget on your website. You have full control over which products are presented where. It’s as easy as launching a ‘live chat’. button on your website -You will only need to paste a short code snippet provided by the Ar-range tool.
Enchant your clients
When choosing a vendor for your AR solution, make your life easier and ask a simple question - what’s going to happen after the launch? The answer to that pretty much differentiates good and bad business partners when it comes to working on ecommerce.
You might think that now that the AR solution is up and running, the job is over. No, it’s not. Actually this is the moment where the whole investment’s fate is at stake. No matter which solution or vendor you choose, you still need to remember about communicating the new tool to your audience. People in general are afraid of things they don’t know and it’s your job to show the undoubtful benefits of using the new AR tool you are giving them. A good AR developer, that is not only a tech company, but also understands the marketing in the furniture industry, is an asset not to be undervalued at this point.
As the investments of the largest players such as Facebook, Google or Amazon show, in a few years AR will be a part of everyday life for each of us. It’s already changing the way we work and play in a significant way. Some compare augmented reality and it’s growing accessibility to the revolution done by the popularisation of smartphones. One thing for sure - it’s worth keeping an eye on how this technology is becoming more and more accessible to the furniture business, even when it comes to small brands. With tools like Ar-range, which offer a full automation of the process, it’s a perfect time to leverage AR as your competitive advantage, before it becomes mainstream.
Drive new sales with 3D & AR visualisation for the web
with Augmented Reality widget on your website!