Furniture retailer to bolster shopping experience with virtual reality


Ashley Furniture is jumping into virtual and augmented reality to help shoppers visualize how furnishings can fit into a space more accurately.

The retailer is launching a company-wide virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) initiative that is designed to enable consumers to create interior layouts and experience living spaces in 3D. Ashley Furniture will create and scale its product catalogue for AR and VR, and publish new 3D product experiences, with a platform from augmented reality and virtual reality provider Marxent.

“Augmented and virtual reality are essential to our growth and vision for the future,” said Todd Wanek, Ashley Furniture’s president and CEO. “Our data shows that a combination of 3D visualization, seeing, touching and feeling actual products, combined with the consultation of our knowledgeable salespeople, will lead to a stand-apart customer experience that is location-flexible.”

The retailer’s first step will be to launch an AR shopping app, which will help shoppers see how home furnishings fit into an existing space. In-store virtual reality tech bars will combine a guided iPad-based space configuration experience with VR headset visualization, allowing shoppers to design and visualize their bedrooms, dining rooms or living rooms.

Ashley Furniture will announce which stores will be the first to launch the virtualization experience in 2017.