- Artemest, an e-commerce startup that specializes in luxury furniture from Italy, introduced a mobile app that lets shoppers see virtual examples of furniture in their homes using augmented reality (AR) through a smartphone camera, the company announced in a press release. The Artemest app features the company's complete catalog of products from more than 500 Italian artisans.
- Shoppers can search by price range, materials, colors, artisans and other features and save lists of favorite items. A magazine section of the app displays short videos about Artemest artisans and their manufacturing processes, along with curated collections and inspirational design content.
- The Artemest app is available as a free download from Apple's App Store. The company was founded in 2015 by jewelry designer Ippolita Rostagno and Marco Credendino.
Artemest is among the home furnishings merchants that are adding AR features to their apps to help shoppers visualize how products will look in their homes before making a purchase. People are typically more comfortable making big-ticket purchases if they can see bulky items like a dining set or couches in their own space first, Sucharita Kodali, an analyst and e-commerce expert at Forrester Research, told The New York Times.
Ikea, Houzz, Wayfair, Anthropologie, Macy's and Williams-Sonoma are among the retailers that use 3D and AR technologies to let customers view virtual examples of furniture and how it might fit in their space. Apple and Google in the past two years have introduced software tools to help marketers create apps with AR experiences, helping to drive adoption of the technology among several home furnishing companies.
Furniture retailing is a fast-growing category in digital merchandising. Online retailing of furniture, appliances and equipment grew by more than 20% on an annualized basis for eight of nine quarters through 2017, more rapidly than overall e-commerce growth, per comScore data cited by the Times. The $19.2 billion online market for furniture and home furnishings will surge to $42 billion by next year, per a forecast by UShip, signaling the potential major revenue boost brands can capture by integrating advanced tech to ease shopper's browsing journey.