From the automotive sector to the clothing one, from Real Estate to large retailers, Augmented Reality is a technology that is influencing the evolution of many industries. The sectors of furniture and interior design particularly enjoy its advantages.

The marketing of furniture is in fact becoming increasingly digital and virtualized. According to a recent research by IBISWorld, 15% of the US furniture market concerns online activities, while a study by Centric Digital highlights how the furniture sector is more than others, that in which people are willing to experience the Augmented Reality and to complete purchases through apps that imply it.

With Augmented Reality, retailers are able to display their products virtually, while customers can check what an article will look like in their homes or offices. In fact, this technology allows to display virtual objects in the real environment, faithfully reproducing their dimensions and design features. Without necessarily having to "touch" the furniture with your hand, the consumer can thus make thoughtful decisions based on what he sees and which is in line with his tastes.

Augmented Reality, also thanks to the favorable reception of consumers, is giving a new face to the world of mobile: with Augmented Reality apps dedicated to furniture, which combine information and entertainment, the customer’s shopping experience is more personalized.

For the retailer, such a solution instead represents a boost to sales, as well as being a competitive advantage compared to other players who use only traditional sales methods.

How does Augmented Reality increase furniture sales?

Who sells furniture uses Augmented Reality services to create catalogs of virtual products that the customer can then test in the context in which he has to place them. Overall, using Augmented Reality applications, companies can:

• Customize customer shopping experiences

Today the consumer is not forced to go to a shopping center to choose the size, design and material of a piece of furniture. With Augmented Reality, he can do this with a smartphone or tablet. Through their device - and therefore without having to buy other hardware - potential buyers get a precise and realistic idea of the object in a given environment.

Augmented Reality is the ideal tool for this sector. Who wouldn't want to furnish their apartment in real time by adding and removing pieces of furniture, experimenting with combinations, choosing from all the available color options and without having to pay the price of their evaluation errors?

Market statistics also indicate that using these tools, product returns decrease by 23%.

• Engage and loyalize

The interaction with virtual objects and the ability to customize purchases are already self-evident methods of involvement. But let's just think about how the experience would become even more fun and complete, by combining Artificial Intelligence with Augmented Reality: in the last year, furniture apps have been developed that, after having scanned the real environment and the already present furniture, process the data suggesting combinations with hundreds of preloaded virtual furniture. These systems use Artificial Intelligence as a sort of "interior design consultant", able to understand what best suits a given apartment.

Thanks to the use of these Augmented Reality applications, which represent for the consumer a never-seen-before service, it is easy to imagine an increase in the reputation level of the furniture manufacturer or retailer brand, as well as customer loyalty.

• Emerge from the competition

By adopting an advanced technology such as Augmented Reality, customers are offered innovative shopping experiences, while brands take a step ahead of the competition.

We have seen that for furniture retailers, the "first try, then buy" strategy is essential to conquer the consumer. But that's not all. Today, proposing this cutting-edge technology is in itself an added value, something that others still don't have. Augmented Reality therefore opens up new ways for promoting a brand and expanding its audience.

The advantages of Augmented Reality in interior design

Most people find it difficult to renovate a house or to choose furniture because they cannot see what the final result will look like. This applies both to those who adopt a do-it-yourself approach and to those who employ professional designers. Here, therefore, Augmented Reality applications can come to the aid of the various phases of interior design.

Architects, designers and real estate marketing experts are the first who can take advantage of these technologies: by realistically visualizing how the imagined projects will look, they have the possibility to easily design the environments and to show them to the end customer with greater effectiveness.

When in the interior design phase, the attention goes from the functionality of the various elements to the aesthetic aspects, errors of interpretation can occur. Thanks to Augmented Reality, however, we are all able to experiment with all the options - furniture, lighting, flooring, paint on the walls, types of fixtures, etc. - and define the appearance of the rooms before putting our hand to the wallet.

Even in interior design, Augmented Reality is therefore an excellent tool for customizing client needs. Especially when facing large costs, buyers want to be able to see in advance what the environments in which they will live or work will be like.

Augmented Reality: the most efficient solution for furnishing commercial areas, professional firms and offices

Not just for private homes. Augmented Reality has an enormous potential in improving sales and customer experience, even in the commercial and professional furniture segment: thanks to this technology, sales teams accompany the buyer on a more streamlined decision-making process.

Just as it happens in the residential sector, in fact, business owners or purchasing managers can take advantage of this technology to view the furniture before buying them. It follows that furniture manufacturers for companies have the possibility to:

• Speed up sales

When the seller can show the customer what his future office, meeting room or even an entire shop will look like before the actual set-up, the buyer's decision-making process will be easier and faster. Being able to evaluate the many combinations of models, materials and colors, and viewing the tests in real time, decision-makers will have the opportunity to evaluate how the furniture will impact on the structure and finally choose the most appreciated solution without too many doubts.

• Stimulate creativity

Supported by Augmented Reality tools, it is easier for a salesperson (or a sales team) with a strong creativity to offer aesthetically beautiful, functional and original environments: he can add and remove elements, customize textures and materials in complete freedom, until obtaining the solution more suitable for the customer.

• Save on costs

Moving large equipment is expensive and time-consuming. Wrong combinations result in the return of the goods and higher costs. As is evident from what has been said so far, Augmented Reality technology is able to prevent this problem: being able to test the layout of the furniture before purchasing it, the final result will be more accurate and the possibility of minimum returns.

Augmented Reality in the furniture sector: suitable for manufacturers and customers

Augmented Reality seems to have been born especially for the furniture industry: manufacturers are now able to sell their products more effectively, while customers can customize their purchases by installing a simple app on their device. Innovation in the furniture sector has just started and is developing rapidly, hand in hand with improvements in technology and the expansion of its popularity with large sections of the population, not just the youngest. In all likelihood, the future of furniture and interior design will be linked to the developments of Augmented Reality, with increasingly punctual and personalized services for the consumer.

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