- Sotheby's International Realty, a subsidiary of Realogy Holdings, introduced an iOS version of its mobile app that includes a feature to shop for furnishings shown in augmented reality (AR). The "Curate by Sotheby's" app lets people visualize how they might furnish a home before buying it while they're touring, using AR to create a more immersive experience than 2D images, according to a company press release.
- Sotheby's partnered with luxury furniture marketplace Viyet on the shoppable elements. The app displays custom room scenes in a variety of styles and now lets people click on a virtual furniture item, view product details and purchase it.
- The Curate app is powered by roOomy, a virtual staging technology platform that specializes in 3D modeling and rendering through AR and virtual reality (VR). The app was originally introduced for Android devices earlier this year, and now can be downloaded from Apple's App Store.
Sotheby's International Realty is beefing up its mobile offerings for homebuyers with a shopping feature that uses AR tech to showcase home furnishings available for purchase through Viyet, a subsidiary of Sotheby's auction house. AR shopping is a smart addition for the real estate company to leverage its property listings and encourage additional sales. It's often a challenge for homebuyers to visualize how items might look in a house, which could lead to a greater level of hesitancy in closing a property deal. Sotheby's appears to be banking on the idea that the better people can visualize a home complete with furniture and decor, the more likely they'll feel comfortable closing on a house. Once they're moved in, many may need to purchase new furniture or appliances, so Sotheby's can be the first in line to offer those items for potential homebuyers.
Home furnishing has become a popular category for nascent AR technology that overlays digital images against a real background seen through a smartphone camera. More than half (54%) of consumers in an Accenture study said they'd like to use the tech to shop for household items and furniture. Macy's, Ikea, Wayfair and Crate & Barrel are among the home furnishings retailers that have introduced AR-enabled apps in the past year to help people visualize how their newly decorated rooms may appear before actually making a purchase.
The Curate by Sotheby's app was originally built with ARCore, Google's AR software development kit, and launched in the Google Play Store earlier this year. Now, the real estate company is opening its tools to about a billion Apple devices with its latest update to the Curate app, expanding its reach to a much broader group of consumers who may be interested in buying a home.