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Wayfair brings products into consumers’ home — virtually


Customers of Wayfair Inc. no longer have to guess how items will look in their own personal spaces.

The online home furnishings and decor retailer has launched WayfairView, its new augmented reality (AR) smartphone application. Developed by Wayfair Next, the company’s in-house research and development team, the app, using Google technology, allows shoppers to visualize furniture and décor in their homes at full-scale before they make a purchase.

Consumers will be able to shop with WayfairView on the upcoming Tango-enabled Lenovo PHAB2 Pro smartphone, available September 2016.

To use WayfairView, shoppers will be able to view a particular room in their home through the lens of the Lenovo smartphone, select a Wayfair product and virtually place that product in the room to see how it fits and looks within the space. Shoppers can also move and rotate products to visualize various layouts and perspectives. When ready to make a purchase, shoppers will be seamlessly connected to Wayfair’s shopping app in Google Play.

“Wayfair Next is laying the groundwork for new innovations that will change the face of retail – all with first-party technology,” said Steve Conine, co-chairman and co-founder, Wayfair. “By digitizing our vast catalog through 3D scanning, we will dramatically improve the visualization of products to create the best possible shopping experience for our customers. With smartphone augmented reality, we can take this a step further. Built using Google’s robust Tango technology, WayfairView will allow shoppers to visualize furniture and décor in their homes by virtually placing real products from Wayfair’s extensive catalog in any room at full-scale.”

Wayfair has shown an innovative flair in the past year. Other customer-facing features based on leading edge technologies include high-resolution 3D image renderings developed with tech solutions provider roOmy, Buyable Pins, a proprietary, Pinterest-like social offering called “Idea Boards,” and in-house-developed display advertising platform called “Magellan” that will deliver tailored messages and collect customer data.

This latest offering follows the company’s announcement of the new Wayfair Next Research and Development Laboratory in Boston. Clearly Wayfair aims to be a major player in digital innovation, which should help compensate for its lack of the vital brick-and-mortar channel. However, the retailer is taking a risk by linking WayfairView to the new, unproven PHAB2 Pro. As evidenced by the 2015 failure of the Amazon Fire smartphone, consumers may not be receptive to a new mobile platform, even if it comes from a well-known provider and has interesting capabilities.

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