Anthropologie brings furniture customization to AR
Apparel and home goods retailer Anthropologie partnered with creative studio CVLT to add 3D images to its online custom furniture library, and to adjust the retailer's visual assets for use in an augmented reality feature recently added to Anthropologie’s iOS mobile app, according to a press release.
The AR feature was enabled by the Apple ARkit development platform, and became available late last month on iOS devices running the new iOS 11 software. At launch, customers could use the app to browse more than 40 furniture styles from the retailer’s custom furniture website, with many more being added this month.
Over five months prior to the launch of the app, CVLT used CGI rendering to revamp 96,000 visual assets from the custom furniture site into 360-degree 3D images. Anthropologie customers can now access upholstery options organized by style, fabric, color, and additional customization choices, and also have the ability to study pieces from every angle.
Anthropologie was early to embrace mobile, launching an iPad catalog app six years ago this month. This time around, it’s not only part of the retailer crowd that's jumping at the chance to use new AR technology, but it also has the right kind of customers in mind for it.
The AR feature, which includes customizable image combinations, is aimed at the audience for Anthropologie’s custom furniture site and sounds like a perfect match for the technology. Indeed, the majority of recent AR apps have been home goods and furniture related, with retailers like Wayfair and Ikea using the technology to allow customers to visualize furniture before purchasing. While augmented reality seems to be moving into more playful retail avenues with apps like Toys R Us' Play Chaser and the Star Wars Force Friday app, home goods and furnishings remains a strong application.
Anthropologie's app in particular allows custom furniture shoppers to sift through and combine different elements from the site, including over 120 different furniture shapes, 11 fabrics and 140 colors, according to the press release. The AR feature can also account for the effect of light and shadows in the room as pieces are viewed. This is personalization in action.
Anthropologie and CVLT also claim "nearly 100% scale, texture and accuracy" in the imagery of the app, which — aside from giving shoppers a pretty realistic sense of how the customized pieces they create will fit physically and aesthetically in their rooms — might also foster consumer trust in using AR apps to make purchase decisions. In addition, Anthropologie allows app users to share their views and gather second opinions from friends and family via social media and e-mails before placing orders within the app itself.
The completion of the retailer’s 3D image migration and the launch of its new AR feature come not long after Anthropologie sales slid about 4% in the most recent quarter, reported by parent company Urban Outfitters. This technology could make customers who use it feel more confident about making a purchase, which could go a long way toward growing sales again.