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Why Retailers Are Investing in Augmented Reality Furniture Placement + 4 Expert Opinions

Our homes mean more to us than just shelter. They're where we find comfort, belonging, and emotional fulfillment. Considering we spend so much time in our homes, it's vital that they support both our physical and emotional needs. This requires designing spaces that go beyond basic function and appearance, fostering happiness and well-being.

Yet, designing a home that achieves this balance isn't always easy, especially for those without design expertise. Many people struggle with decisions like choosing the right-sized furniture or arranging objects effectively.

That's where you can make a real impact.

Almost every industry today is under pressure to innovate quickly, effectively, and affordably. The furniture retail sector is no exception, facing increasing competition and the need to improve customer experiences while adapting to digital changes.

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Augmented Reality (AR) furniture placement offers an exciting solution to these challenges. It allows customers to blend online and offline experiences seamlessly. By using AR, shoppers can virtually place furniture in their homes, creating lifelike "try-before-you-buy" experiences online. This helps retailers offer amazing omnichannel experiences, where customers can explore products digitally as if they were in a physical store.

A Quick Look at Augmented Reality (AR)

AR is a technology that seamlessly blends digital and real-world experiences. Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), which transports users into entirely digital environments, AR overlays digital content onto the physical world. This technology enhances our perception by integrating interactive elements like 3D objects, animations, and information overlays into our surroundings.

Accessed through smartphones, tablets, and AR glasses, AR allows users to interact with virtual content seamlessly integrated into their real-world environment. Its applications span various industries, from gaming and entertainment to education and commerce, offering exciting possibilities for enhancing our daily lives.

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What is AR Virtual Furniture Placement?

AR Virtual Furniture Placement utilizes the phone camera to revolutionize the way furniture is visualized and arranged in rooms. Users can see virtual couches, tables, and other furniture items on their screens, seamlessly integrated into their real-life surroundings.

This type of technology can be useful for homeowners, interior designers, and furniture retailers.

  • For homeowners: AR furniture placement takes the guesswork out of buying furniture. It lets homeowners see exactly how different pieces will look and fit in their space before they make a purchase.

  • For interior designers: Instead of relying on physical prototypes and mock-ups, designers can utilize AR to create virtual versions of their interior design concepts. This allows them to experiment with different layouts, colors, and styles in real-time, making changes on the fly until they get it just right.

  • For furniture retailers: By allowing customers to virtually try out different pieces of furniture in their own homes, retailers can boost confidence in purchasing decisions and reduce returns. This technology creates a more immersive and engaging shopping experience, helping retailers stand out in a crowded market.


Utilizing AR For Virtual Furniture Placement

The technology behind AR furniture placement works by using a combination of computer vision, 3D modeling, and real-time rendering. When a user accesses an AR furniture placement app on their smartphone or tablet, they point the device's camera at a desired location in their home. The app uses computer vision algorithms to analyze the physical space and identify surfaces such as floors, walls, and ceilings.

AR For Virtual Furniture Placement

Once the surfaces are detected, the app overlays virtual furniture models onto the camera feed, aligning them with the real-world environment. These virtual furniture models are created using 3D modeling software and rendered in real-time to accurately reflect lighting, shadows, and perspective, giving users a lifelike representation of how the furniture will appear in their space.

Users can then interact with the virtual furniture, moving it around, rotating it, and resizing it to see how different pieces will fit and look in their home. The app may also offer features such as color and material customization, allowing users to personalize the virtual furniture to match their preferences.

How Augmented Reality Furniture Placement Work

The Benefits of Augmented Reality Furniture Placement

Virtual furniture placement offers numerous benefits for furniture retailers, enhancing both the customer experience and operational efficiency.

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  • Visualize space and fit: Enables customers to make more informed decisions about furniture purchases by visualizing how virtual elements will fit and look in their space.

  • Increase customer engagement: Enhances customer engagement by providing interactive and immersive shopping experiences.

  • Spot errors early on: Helps retailers identify design errors and issues in the early stages, minimizing costly revisions later on.

  • Save time and money: Saves time and resources by streamlining the design and purchasing process, reducing the need for physical prototypes and minimizing errors.

  • Improve customer experience: Enhances the overall customer experience by providing personalized and convenient shopping experiences.

  • Boost brand image: Contributes to a positive brand image by positioning retailers as innovative, customer-centric, and technologically advanced.

Challenges and Mistakes in Adopting Virtual Furniture Placement

Challenges in adopting virtual furniture placement technology exist, but they can be overcome with understanding and proactive measures.

Cultural concerns

One of the major hurdles in adopting virtual furniture placement technology lies in addressing cultural barriers. Many businesses may face apathy or distrust towards new technologies, leading to hesitation in embracing virtual solutions. Additionally, confusion about how the technology works and uncertainty about the user experience can further impede adoption.

Building trust is crucial, especially in a society where skepticism towards technology is common. It's essential for the industry to take proactive steps to educate businesses and society about the benefits of virtual furniture placement.

This involves demystifying the technology, showcasing its practical apps, and addressing concerns in a transparent manner. By encouraging more people to experience the technology firsthand and providing clear explanations, the industry can bridge the gap and foster greater acceptance.

Shift focus from upfront costs to long-term returns on investment (ROI)

Instead of viewing AR as a novelty or a nice-to-have, retailers should develop business cases that highlight the tangible returns that can be achieved. By emphasizing the potential cost savings and business benefits, such as reduced training expenses, faster product launches, and increased workforce productivity, retailers can build a compelling case for investing in virtual furniture placement.

Moreover, virtual furniture placement opens up new revenue opportunities by enhancing the customer experience and expanding market reach. By focusing on the measurable ROI that AR technology can deliver, furniture retailers can make informed decisions that drive long-term success and profitability.

Implementation challenges

Technology often fails because it wasn’t implemented with people in mind. To succeed, start by focusing on your team and customers. Clearly explain your goals, the benefits of the new technology, what will change, and why it's good for the business.

As technology continues to evolve, businesses need to be transparent and trustworthy. This means being open and honest and creating clear ways for people to ask questions and give feedback throughout the process.

For example, with virtual furniture placement, show how it can improve the shopping experience. Use AR to let customers see how furniture will look in their homes. This not only highlights the benefits but also encourages people to use the new technology.

Virtual furniture placement can be very beneficial, but only if you ensure everyone understands and supports the changes.

4 Retailers Share Their Opinions on Virtual Furniture Placement with AR and AI

Meghan Stabler
Meghan Stabler Senior Vice President of Marketing at BigCommerce

Meghan Stabler emphasizes the importance of product customization, especially for younger buyers like Gen-Z and Millennials. Surprisingly, many older buyers are also "tech-savvy and eager to see how furniture fits and looks in their space". This makes product visualization and AR crucial for reaching a broad demographic. While older customers use these tools for practical reasons, such as configuring a space, Gen-Zers focus more on aesthetics and the overall feel.

New technologies, such as 3D visualization tools and AR, can significantly increase the likelihood of customers completing their purchases. Data supports the belief that customers want and use these tools, making them vital for any online retail platform.

Bob Bruns
Bob Bruns President of Cozzia USA

Bob Bruns highlights the significant impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) on their business in 2023, with continued influence expected in 2024.

AI has advanced their massage chairs by analyzing customer preferences and adjusting massage techniques accordingly. AI also enables features like voice control and personalized recommendations, making the massage experience more intuitive and enjoyable.

Incorporating AR into the Cozzia experience allows customers to customize their "Chair Doctor" massage in real-time. This innovation has transformed the massage chair segment. The Cozzia family of brands will introduce the next generation of the "Chair Doctor" in April 2024. Expanding this technology across their various brands is expected to drive their business growth in 2024.

Gavin Bolden
Gavin Bolden Sales Director of Rhenus Home Delivery UK

Whichever you have to be cheaper or offer a unique experience.

Gavin Bolden notes that consumers now have more choices than ever before. They can shop online via laptop/PC or mobile device, watch product videos on various media platforms, receive personalized videos from retailers, and even try-before-they-buy a bed without seeing it in person.

Bolden suggests offering a hybrid model:

  • A destination store where customers can have an exceptional in-person experience

  • An engaging website

  • A user-friendly mobile app

  • Media platform videos and images

This approach ensures customers have multiple convenient ways to shop and engage with the products.

James Dunne
James Dunne Director of Operations at Prestige Beds

At Prestige Beds, James Dunne is leading efforts to change the company's perception, shifting away from being seen as an old-fashioned bed shop. By improving their website and introducing innovative technologies, they are modernizing the shopping experience while maintaining their traditional values and characteristics.

Given the vast array of choices available today—different fabrics, headboard styles, storage options, types of legs, and castors—combined with the significant cost of a new bed, it is no surprise that many people want to see their options in a 3D visualization (and even in room settings) before making a purchase decision.

How to Get Started with Virtual Furniture Placement

Focus on solving business problems. Don't be swayed by hype or novelty. Establish a solid business case for virtual furniture placement, such as speeding up processes, improving safety, reducing costs, or creating new revenue streams.

Think beyond software. Building the software is just one part of an AR solution. Understand the technology, design the solution to address a business problem, and create an effective deployment program for successful implementation.

Create a seamless experience. The success of virtual furniture placement depends on how comfortable and intuitive it is to use. This involves factors like user interactions, hardware quality, facilitation, and the environment in which it is used.

Start with a test case. While planning and strategy are important, they shouldn't delay exploration. Begin with a small pilot AR app to understand the benefits and potential of virtual furniture placement.

Measure results and adjust. After creating a test case, gather feedback to inform your next steps. Decide whether to invest further in the current solution, pivot in a different direction, or try a new approach. Remember, there is no failure in gaining better insights.

Are You Ready to Try Virtual Furniture Placement with Next-Gen AI Visualization?

Don’t let past experiences and outdated perceptions of visualization technologies shape your thinking.

Zolak is a SaaS platform designed specifically for furniture retailers. One of our standout products is Zolak Showroom.

With Zolak Showroom, you can create immersive 3D showrooms directly on your website, providing an inspiring and interactive way for shoppers to visualize, configure, and buy complete furniture sets.

While AR is great for visualizing single items in a customer's room, it falls short when displaying multiple furniture pieces together. Customers want to see how various items fit in their real dimensions and look together in a space, a feat that AR alone cannot fully achieve.


Zolak Showroom leverages a sophisticated pipeline that integrates multiple neural networks with advanced image processing algorithms. Here’s how it works:

Stage one: Comprehensive room scan

  • Object identification: Using the SAM neural network, the system identifies objects and locates their corresponding masks.

  • Room geometry calculation: Utilizes data from the AR session on a mobile device, including camera angle and elevation.

Stage two: Immersive showroom construction

The processed graphical output feeds into the Zolak visualization engine, creating an interactive showroom tailored to the user's interior. This allows visualization of a wide range of products, including furniture, wall and floor coverings, and lighting.

Not sure about implementing virtual furniture placement? Zolak offers a test drive.

Schedule some time with one of our product visualization specialists to:

  • Experience an immersive 3D showroom

  • Learn about the features and benefits of Zolak Showroom

  • Get detailed information on pricing

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