Retailers such as Target, Home Depot, Wayfair, IKEA and others have introduced augmented reality to help customers make decisions about products they are interested in by visualizing the items within their own four walls. Today, Etsy is backing the AR train with the launch of an updated iOS app that uses augmented reality features to help consumers shop for wall art.
The company says that since the COVID 19 pandemic started, more customers have been looking for home decor. For example, in the past three months, Etsy The search for wall decor or art has increased by 94% compared to the previous year. Similarly, the search for paintings has increased by 63% and the search for prints or illustrations by 54%.
As with many furnishings, it can be difficult to imagine what wall art will look like in your room alongside your own furniture and whether it will match the color scheme of your room. Buyers may also wonder if the item is the right size for their space or if they have a good place to show the art at all.
Etsy's AR feature is designed to help you answer these questions. In the iOS app, Etsy shoppers can now select all items categorized as paintings, photography, or prints. Then tap the new augmented reality icon in the upper right corner of the item image to display it in your own area. The company claims that its art and collectibles category offers over 5 million items, but doesn't clarify how many of them count as wall art.
Etsy says development of the AR feature started in early 2019, long before the COVID crisis. Unlike a typical ecommerce website, Etsy's AR implementation is more difficult because it doesn't work using a catalog with standard sizes and images. Instead, Etsy's independent sellers add their own titles, tags, and photos, creating a large amount of unstructured data.
To create the function, Etsy engineers used the vision framework in iOS to pull out the artwork to be placed in 3D, followed by Core Image to crop the image if necessary. An image classification process for machine learning has also been implemented on the device to recognize and classify whether a listing contains a frame and needs to be cropped. To place the images in the user environment, the AR function uses iOS & # 39; SceneKit and ARKit.
Once the AR item is loaded, you can move your iPhone or iPad around your room to find an empty space on the wall and then tap the AR item to place the item where you want it. If the article is available in several sizes, you can also test this by enlarging the article. The feature works best with rectangular and square artworks, Etsy notes.
Much of Etsy's business now flows through mobile phones as more and more consumers are satisfied with shopping on their smartphones. The company reported total sales of $ 228.1 million in the first quarter of 2020, an increase of 34.7% over the previous year. Gross profit reached $ 145.6 million, an increase of 24.8%. These numbers do not reflect the full impact of the pandemic since the quarter ended on March 31, 2020. In the first quarter, Etsy stated that 58% of gross merchandise sales were mobile.
The AR function in the Etsy app for iOS is still in the beta phase. An Android version is in the works, says Etsy