Marxent partners with U.K. retailer to offer VR experience

LONDON – Marxent, a furniture technology provider based in the U.S., has partnered with U.K. retailer John Lewis & Partners to offer a new virtual reality (VR) experience called “Visualize Your Space.”

“Designing a new look for a room can be a lot of fun and a chance to express our personalities. However, customers tell us that uncertainty about what new products will look like in their home can make the decision making hard,” said Caitlin Price, John Lewis & Partners head of buying for furniture and flooring. “This new technology will enable customers to be braver in their choices, test technology that architects and interior designers have been using to visualize their designs, and be comfortable with the results.”

The initial VR rollout will take place in three trial shops where customers will be able to put the dimensions, doors and windows of the room they want to update into an iPad via an app and then drop in John Lewis & Partners products to see how the items will look in their home. The trial will begin at the John Lewis & Partners Kingston shop on June 26, in Cambridge on June 28 and in Horsham on July 2.

Customers will also be able to change the color of the walls and floors to create a complete look.

Price said users will be able to view the designed room on either an iPad, as a 3D room set in augmented reality, or they can wear a virtual reality headset to ‘walk around’ the room. Afterwards, customers will be emailed a copy of the room they created, complete with shoppable links.

Last fall, Furniture Today reported that U.S. retailer Macy’s partnered with Marxent for a similar in-store VR experience that has since rolled out to more than 150 Macy’s locations nationwide with more to come later in 2019.

Macy’s said that in its test stores, customers who used VR for their purchases generally increased the basket size by 60%, decreased returns to less than 2%, and the addition of the VR technology allowed for a larger furniture assortment in less floor space.

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