When you’re shopping for furniture or planning to redecorate, it can be difficult to visualize how the final result will look in your home. In the past year, a few retailers in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box have launched solutions to that problem using virtual reality technology.

In October, Lowe’s introduced the “Holoroom” in 19 stores across the U.S. Customers use the Holoroom iPad app to design a home improvement project, then don Oculus DK2 goggles to experience the result in 360-degree virtual reality. Finished designs can be exported to YouTube 360 or taken home using Google Cardboard.

IKEA faces a similar problem: 14% of customers take home furniture of the wrong size. So the Swedish retailer launched a mobile app that provides a virtual preview of 
how a furniture item will look in a room. Usable on both smartphone
 and tablet, the app superimposes a computer-generated 3D image of the item on top of the room’s image, letting users see how the piece of furniture would look in their home before making a purchase decision.

IKEA app

These investments in virtual reality will likely pay off. By showing customers how items will look in their home, the retailers can increase the likelihood of purchase. So far, Lowe’s and IKEA are among a select group of early adopters, reflecting their Gifted ranking in L2’s Index (Lowe’s ranks 10th and IKEA ranks 24th). However, with the market for augmented reality and virtual reality devices projected to reach $4 billion by 2018, other brands will likely find ways to employ the technology.


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