Target has added its Christmas tree inventory to a mobile augmented reality feature so shoppers can try before they buy, according to a company press release issued Dec. 5.
"Hundreds of thousands of guests" are already using the "See It In Your Space" feature, according to Target. A company spokesperson told the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal that the feature has doubled Christmas tree sales.
Target also announced it is expanding a virtual reality-based 360-degree shopping experience, launched in mid-2017 as a way to shop products in curated rooms, to include six new holiday-themed rooms.
Target first launched the "See It In Your Space" mobile app and web feature in October 2017, at that time positioning it for furniture shopping. That made a tremendous amount of sense back then, as many different home decor retailers had launched similar apps in the months preceding Target's announcement.
At that time, it may not have been clear how much the new feature would benefit shoppers who might not be as picky about seeing exactly how a piece of furniture looks against their own living room backdrop. But, the feature must have been useful if Target has expanded it to include its stock of artificial Christmas trees, which really are form of seasonal furniture, right?
The claim that tree sales have doubled since being added to See It In Your Space could represent something of a watershed moment for such a feature. If it has been that successful for a holiday-focused offering, other inventory may be next.
AR and VR-based shopping apps and experiences were launched largely on hope and hype. In the year and a half or so since many retailers have started working more with these technologies, we still haven't heard much about how directly and effectively they have aided sales. An artificial Christmas tree is just one type of product, and one that's obviously in great demand at this time of year, but Target's reported success makes one wonder if more shoppers are finally ready to shop for more things through the lens of an AR or VR experience.