The above video is an Recode interview with Williams-Sonoma’s CEO, Laura Alber.
Online furniture shopping is going to get a lot more interesting in the near future. Williams -Sonoma and all of its retail brands, including Pottery Barn and West Elm, will be using 3D imaging to help customers make more intelligent selections. With a touch of a button, customers will be able to see what their furniture choices look like in different colors and pattern selections. This is a very nice feature to have before customers have to make final choices.
In order to accomplish this, WSI, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., acquired an augmented reality startup called Outward for $112 million. Outward, founded in 2012, gives consumers the ability to see furniture pieces in different angles and in different fabrics. Outward will continue to expand its services over time.
The aquistion by WSI underscores what’s going on in the furniture industry. Retailers want to delve further into augmented reality because they want shoppers to have for a better online shopping experience. Retailers like Wayfair, Ikea and Amazon have all introduced AR shopping experiences over the past 18 months.