A number of department stores and retailers have begun using virtual reality in order to better demonstrate and display their products. The latest is Macy’s, one of the largest in New York City and a popular attraction, which will bring virtual reality headsets into stores in an attempt to improve sales, according to FurnitureToday.
Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette has announced that VR tools will be used to sell furniture in 50 of its stores by summer. The beauty of virtual reality technology in a store is potential customers can view all types of products without the store having to worry about taking up physical space to house them. Gennette said at an industry event in Las Vegas virtual reality has the ability to “sell more furniture with less, or even no, square footage devoted to displaying it.”
With the virtual reality setup, customers use an iPad to add furniture into a room, and are able to lay out the room any way they want with furniture for sale by Macy’s. Then they can experience what that room would feel like using an HTC Vive VR headset.
This helps the customer get a better feel of the furniture without actually needing to see it physically, and it also helps stores keep precious store square footage unused, something particularly useful in the expensive world of New York real estate.
While Macy’s has elected virtual reality as its technological furniture sales savior, IKEA, the Swedish furniture maker, recently launched an augmented reality app to help its sales. The app, called IKEA Place, uses the Apple ARKit technology to virtually place furniture into the home. Users just have to select the piece of furniture they’re interested in, and a 3D, true-to-scale version will overlay on the space where the phone is pointed.
“IKEA Place makes it easier to make buying decisions in your own place, to get inspired and try many different products, styles and colors in real-life settings with a swipe of your finger,” Michael Valdsgaard, Leader Digital Transformation at Inter IKEA Systems said when the app was launched. “Augmented reality and virtual reality will be a total game changer for retail in the same way as the internet. Only this time, much faster.”