Wikibuy, whose free price tracking and comparison tool is used by more than 1.5 million members, has released an augmented reality update on the Wikibuy iOS app that allows users to search based on dimensions they've specified in an AR environment, according to a company press release.
Users can use the feature to compare prices, product sizes and see how the items fit into their living spaces. The "search in your space" includes more than 7 million products and tens of thousands of brands from hundreds of different retailers, including Kmart, Walmart, Amazon, eBay, Jet.com and others, Wikibuy said.
The new AR feature is the latest to result from Apple's ARkit augmented reality development platform and the ability of the recent iOS 11 software release to support AR apps on several new iPhone and iPad models.
Price comparison shopping is part of the new reality of the retail sector as more and more customers use smartphones in stores to search and compare prices. For a while, retailers were fighting against this trend, but more seem ready to accept it these days.
Wikibuy promotes that activity, and makes it extremely easy to do through essentially a one-click function rather than a process under which mobile users would be taking more time to search via Google, Amazon and other retailer web sites. Wikibuy has made its name primarily as a highly rated Chrome browser extension that lets users compare prices, but the AR feature enhances the value of its mobile app efforts.
Retailers like Lowe's unveiled AR apps early on, but they were available only on a couple of smartphones. Apple's ARkit and iOS 11 have changed the game by opening up the possibilities for including AR as an app feature. A dozen or more retailers now have AR apps that can be downloaded across a range of iOS devices.
AR quickly is becoming a must-have feature. It's no longer good enough to view a static two-dimensional product page or even a video when making a purchase decision. Users could soon expect to see products — such as TVs or sofas — accurately presented in their own living environments prior to purchasing those items. As a company playing an increasingly prominent role in helping consumers make purchases, Wikibuy sees providing AR as part of that role.