Seventy billion dollars’ worth of home improvement projects stall out every year. Why? Despite the increase in desire to renovate, the issue is two-fold: the inability to visualize a completed project coupled with the lack of confidence and know-how.
As a leader in innovation, Lowe’s set out to solve these challenges by developing a system of powerful new augmented, mixed and virtual reality experiences. In 2017, Lowe’s released applications that assist customers with designing and visualizing their projects, learning DIY skills, and even navigating the Lowe’s store using AR/VR technology.
This month, Lowe’s was named number one among the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in AR/VR by Fast Company. In the midst of an ever-changing retail landscape, Lowe’s, a Fortune 40 home improvement omnichannel retailer, known for its wide selection of tools and appliance, has added inventor, innovator, technological creator and disruptive solutions provider to its resume.
“Our innovation story connects back to the company’s purpose of helping people love where they live, now and in the future,” said Josh Shabtai, director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs. “As a company, we’ve laid the groundwork for AR and VR experiences that help our customers and employees visualize their spaces, learn new skills and even better navigate the store. In 2018, we’ll aim to expand these experiences and develop compelling new ones for all of our customers.”
Take a look at some of the coolest and most talked about AR/VR projects from 2017:
To break down visualization barriers homeowners often experience prior to a renovation project, Lowe’s set out to find a system that generated high fidelity 3D content, but realized the needs exceeded the technology available. So, Lowe’s Innovation Labs built it. Lowe’s 3D is an end-to-end 3D scanning solution that automates 3D modeling processes generating the highest-quality raw models within minutes. Lowe’s 3D powers the company’s AR applications, including: Lowe’s Vision suite of apps and Envisioned by The Mine. In early testing, conversation rates of customers influenced by 3D content were twice as high as those who did not engage with 3D content.
When Google debuted the first smartphone-enabled augmented reality platform, Lowe’s was a launch partner with the release of the Lowe’s Vision app. Lowe’s Vision empowers customers to easily measure any room in their home with a touch of a finger, and style it with virtual Lowe’s products in real-time through augmented reality.
Envisioned by The Mine
Envisioned by The Mine allows users to view digital products from The Mine in their own space, leveraging augmented reality capabilities with Apple’s ARKit. Envisioned allows users to audition new looks for their home by visualizing how the product fits in their space, getting a close look at the product’s size and color. The app also integrates with TheMine.com to provide a seamless shopping experience with existing, high fidelity 3D content.
Holoroom How To
Lowe’s became the first retailer to apply AR/VR technology beyond design to enable learning through a new form of DIY skills training with the debut of Holoroom How To. By putting on a VR headset and holding a controller, customers can learn how to tile a shower in a fully-immersive environment. Research showed that customers have approximately 40 percent greater memory retention of steps to complete a DIY project when using virtual reality training techniques.
In Fall 2017, Lowe’s Innovation Labs introduced the next iteration, Holoroom How To: Red Vest, dedicated to teaching associates key skills needed to better serve customers. Nearly 90 percent of participants reported feeling confident about using their skills in the real world after the virtual reality experience.
Measured by Lowe’s
Another early example of Apple’s ARKit capabilities, Measured by Lowe’s is one of the first accessible, easy-to-use apps using augmented reality to turn any iPhone model 6S or newer into a visualization tool to measure an object or distance within the phone’s camera view.
Lowe’s introduced the first retail application of indoor mapping with the launch of Lowe’s Vision: In-Store Navigation. Based off your shopping list, the app guides customers from product to product in the most time-efficient manner, using a mixed reality interface – allowing DIYers, pros and newbies the chance to focus on their project and not lose time searching aisles.