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Brief Published: 7 Jun 2013

Try-Before-You-Buy AR App Helps Consumers Visualise Product


French tech start-up Augment has developed an app that enables consumers to see how products will look at home before buying them.

Designed to be used both online and with printed imagery, the free app uses augmented reality technology to allow users to view virtual, fully rotatable 3D models of products and overlay them onto physical locations – making it particularly relevant for the furniture and home furnishings sector.

For consumers using the app at home, by scanning their smartphone or tablet over a page (such as a magazine advert) with the Augment logo on it, images of the products appear as if hovering over whatever the camera currently has in its viewfinder. This allows them to see what an item looks like from all angles and visualise it in life-size scale in a room. It could also be used on packaging, point-of-sale signage and billboards.

E-tailers can embed Augment into their existing apps or mobile web pages. When shoppers click the ‘try it on’ button on Augment-connected e-commerce sites, Augment will open and similarly overlay the object anywhere they point their smartphone or tablet camera. The item can then be moved closer or further away, pushed flush against the wall or rotated in the app.

For online retailers, the technology may boost conversion rates and encourage e-commerce sales of large and high-value ‘investment’ items that consumers are reticent to commit to without more assurance of their suitability. For smaller items, allowing them to verify the right style, size and colour via the app has the potential to reduce return rates.

Having had a soft launch in April, with the support of a team of ‘Angel’ investors, the Augment team is currently looking for partners to launch the app in full.

As explored in Virtual Decorating, a handful of forward-thinking retailers and interior designers have begun offering virtual design planning tools to help shoppers make decisions on big-ticket items.

For more on the impact AR is having on the retail industry, see Goldrun AR Retailing, Augmented Reality Summit and Augmented Reality Retail.