Hybrid shopping experience with Augmented Reality

Infinity Reply makes it possible for furniture retailers to offer a 3D experience during online shopping

In-store furniture viewing

Interior furnishings retailers are extremely reliant on customers being able to view products in shops. In an era of physical distancing, this is becoming an increasing challenge in relation to customer acquisition. Through online catalogues alone, it is difficult for customers to imagine products in their real size and from different angles in their own home. Even a web shop can offer only limited assistance with this.

Hybrid shopping with AR

In furniture sales, printed products such as catalogues, flyers and brochures play a huge role for communication and marketing. Online retail is not as effective as in-store experiences for large purchases such as sofas, kitchen extensions and cupboards, in particular.

Augmented reality applications can offer a similar experience to stores both in the current situation and in the longer term for customers who live far away. In addition, the technology offers long-term potential for customer service.

Image tracking replaces a QR code in a catalogue

Using modern game engine technology, Infinity Reply has developed an augmented reality app that enables images in a catalogue (online or not) to be scanned using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet, without a QR code.
The app then visualises the product directly in the actual surroundings.
Technically, the solution is based on the game engine Unity 3D, which Infinity Reply combines with Unity AR Foundation. Infinity Reply enables scanning via image tracking, using the product image as a marker, unlike in earlier solutions of this kind that worked via a QR code.

Switching lamps on and off

Following the tracking process, the associated product appears on the mobile device’s screen as a 3D model. Small-scale interactions with the 3D item are possible, for example lamps can be switched on and off and cupboard doors can be opened and closed. In addition, info points can be integrated into the 3D scene that link to further information such as websites or explanatory films.

Realistic positioning in the surroundings

In a second step, users can scale the product to actual size and place it in their surroundings at home. For precise positioning, plane detection technology is used, which can recognise surfaces such as tables, the floor and, optionally, even walls. This enables each item to be placed on a horizontal as well as a vertical plane, meaning objects can be accurately moved and rotated on cupboards too.

Infinity Reply is also able to integrate an additional feature into its solution: an automatic camera shot via the user’s device, capturing the angle and intensity of light in a room. Based on this, the app alters its representation according to the product’s qualities and takes into account, for example, reflections on reflective materials such as metal. This heightens the realistic effect of the projection.

The Benefits

Using Infinity Reply’s augmented reality solution, end customers can compare the shape, size, colour and materials of products in 3D before placing an order, despite shops being closed or their preference for online shopping. In addition, the realistic projection enables furniture, lamps and other items of furnishings to be seen directly in their intended surroundings. This not only provides a hybrid shopping experience but also reduces return rates and increases customer satisfaction. Extra extensions are also possible: the app can be equipped with product videos, manuals or set-up instructions as well as a configurator.