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09/28/2021

Etsy offers shoppers AR-based digital ‘home’ shopping experience

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Etsy has created a virtual “home” for lifelike online home décor and gift shopping.

Etsy is introducing The Etsy House, an interactive, augmented reality (AR) environment that allows customers to “walk through” a digital home filled with curated Etsy items.

Featuring photorealistic and true-to-scale renderings, seamless navigation, and 360-degree visuals, The Etsy House serves as a virtual home filled with holiday decor and gifts. Items featured on the interactive site include Etsy Design Awards winning products (both past and present), as well as proprietary furniture items. The virtual home features two stories, with a winding staircase customers can navigate between floors.

In addition, The Etsy House is shoppable. When customers hover over select digital items, a pop-up will provide more information on the product and a link to purchase it. Furthermore, shoppers can socially promote their Etsy House experience via direct links to the Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest social media networks. 

The online marketplace created The Etsy House in partnership with The Boundary, a creative visualization studio. Etsy also offers select items featured in its virtual home via a dedicated traditional page on its main e-commerce site.

Warehouse club retailer (and Walmart subsidiary) Sam’s Club has also been experimenting with lifelike, AR-enabled virtual shopping environments. In March 2021, Sam’s Club promoted its spring outdoor collection with pop-up outdoor spaces in New York, Bentonville, Ark., Dallas, and Los Angeles.

The retailer captured 360-degree photography of the four spaces and placed them within its Deck the Yard virtual shopping experience. Customers could digitally visit each pop-up shop, as well as have online access to the retailer’s expanded outdoor collection. 

Shoppers could also purchase items displayed in the digital pop-ups by clicking on them to bring up a window with basic product information (including price) and a “Shop Now” button that linked to the item’s page on the Sam’s Club e-commerce site. The pop-ups also offered digital shoppers access to tips from each designer, informational videos, and behind-the-scenes set-up from the designers. 

In addition, Sam’s Club offered an interactive online shopping experience during the 2020 holiday season, based on the 1989 movie, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Customers could visit a virtual reproduction of the Griswold home from the film.

After clicking on an icon of main character Clark Griswold, consumers were brought to a customizable homescreen featuring an interactive picture of the outside of the fictional family’s house. Shoppers could then click on buttons next to certain features of the house, such as holiday decorations, and be led to an instant “buy now” popup screen. A customizable view of the inside of the home offered more instantly shoppable holiday items.

“Do you ever find yourself on Etsy admiring a beautiful piece of artwork, a statement light fixture, or some bespoke furniture and wonder what it would look like in your home?” Jessica Doyle, VP, communications and engagement marketing, Etsy, wrote in a corporate blog post. “Now, you won’t have to, thanks to The Etsy House – the first-ever interactive, augmented-reality experience that allows shoppers to “walk through” a digital home filled with curated Etsy items.