Target has launched a new augmented reality (AR) feature on its mobile site that allows guests to try out furniture in their homes before making a purchase. But as consumers increasingly demand highly personalized experiences, augmented and virtual reality such as Target's new feature will soon become the norm.
Called See It In Your Space, users can place three-dimensional versions of Target home products within photos of rooms in their homes. The platform even allows consumers to move the objects around and see how they look before buying the product.
Done all on a smartphone, a user can shoot a photo of their home space in real time or pull from an existing one. The process, which doesn't require any special apps, can be found simply by going to Target.com. The program is available for 200 Project 62 Target items. The company plans to roll out more products by the end of the year and carry a portfolio of thousands in 2018.
See It In Your Space is not Target's first trial with augmented reality. In spring, the company launched 360-degree shopping, a design space to help guests visualize Target items in the correct size and scale.
Try-it-before-buying programs are becoming the norm, especially in the home decor industry.
“The home furnishings industry is rapidly evolving to meet today’s consumer demands," Pieter Aarts, CEO and co-founder of AR/VR home staging app roOomy, told FierceRetail. "To attract shoppers and stay ahead of competition, many retailers are implementing augmented and virtual reality solutions to allow homeowners to overcome the visualization barrier often associated with purchasing home furnishings. Thus, try-before-you-buy technologies are transforming the shopping experience, allowing users to easily project 3D images of actual pieces of furniture in their homes. By eliminating the unknown and better informing purchase decisions, AR- and VR-based platforms are becoming commonplace in the industry—evident by Target’s new website capabilities, as well as roOomy and Ikea Place.”
Moving forward, using these types of technologies will be what sets the profitable retailers apart from those that are struggling.
"While many people value in-store and online shopping, neither avenue allows consumers to envision exactly how an item will look and scale in their homes. With today’s evolving technology, however, consumers can do just that. By allowing shoppers to see how a specific sofa, coffee table or dining room set—in any available size, fabric, and color—will match with their home’s current decor, homeowners are more apt to purchase products—increasing conversion and decreasing return rates," Aarts said.