Amazon sets up virtual furniture showroom online
Amazon has launched a new showroom feature allowing customers to shop for furniture and other home decor online by matching items with a variety of virtual room views, including different colors on walls and floors, according to a TechCrunch report.
The feature allows users to create a living room scene by choosing from several wall and floor colors, and then adding items such as a sofa, armchair, lamp, rug, coffee table and art to hang on the wall. Shoppers can save multiple room views with different combinations, and transfer an entire room design to checkout with an "Add to cart" button, according to the report.
The feature, which appears to have launched in recent weeks on both Amazon's website and in its mobile shopping app, was created by an in-house development team at Amazon, and features much of the retailer's private label furniture and home decor lines, per TechCrunch.
As various retail market segments have been disrupted by new online and mobile shopping capabilities, furniture sales have remained somewhat immune as the shopping process traditionally has relied on the ability to view an item in person.
Those days may be coming to an end, as Wayfair, Amazon and many others have started rolling out a variety of new approaches and technologies — virtual reality tools, augmented reality mobile app features, machine learning-driven recommendation systems and others — aimed at boosting furniture sales via online and mobile channels.
For example, since late 2017, Wayfair, Amazon and Target have been among those launching mobile AR apps that allow consumers to shop for furniture and other home decor by placing items in their own room settings. Amazon also launched Scout, the machine learning-powered, gamified furniture shopping experience late last year. Meanwhile, Walmart launched a dedicated online home destination for furniture shopping, and more recently enhanced its furniture shopping capabilities with visual search technology.
As digital tools have become more widespread, some retailers have been trying to reinvent furniture shopping in-store as well. Macy's launched a new in-store virtual reality-based shopping experience at the same time that it came to market with a new furniture shopping feature for its mobile iOS app.
Furniture shopping may be in a transitional stage right now, with new features becoming available just as more big retail names are expanding their presence in the market, and are becoming more aggressive in their pursuit of furniture and home decor sales. In addition to launching Showroom and Scout, Amazon has launched private label furniture lines in recent months, joining Target and Walmart in doing so. There is not much evidence yet that adoption of new technology tools has changed consumer buying behavior, but enough new investment and innovative energy is coming into the space to give retailers something to watch.