With millions of people literally staring at their walls during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, online craft store Etsy has added a helpful feature to their mobile app, making art buying and wall decor placement easier than ever before.
For most people, placing art on the wall causes a bit of anxiety. For starters, there’s the decision about whether it’s the right style or color for the space. Then come the thoughts about the exact location for a print. A little higher? Slightly to the right? Nobody wants to put excess holes in the wall unnecessarily, so the pressure is really on to get it right the first time.
The process offers challenges during the shopping phase, too. Is it too big or too small for the space? How will a piece look next to the wall decor I already have? Shopping online, without being able to physically touch the print, adds more questions to the mix — which is too bad, considering the fact that shopping online has also become a major convenience during the pandemic.
Etsy reports that compared to the same time periods one year ago, searches for wall decor or art are up 94 percent, paintings 63 percent, and prints 54 percent. With all of this in mind, the company recently added an augmented reality feature to their app so you can virtually see the artwork on your walls before you commit to placing it anywhere. Here’s how it works.
Using your iPhone or iPad, you scan a wall in your home. This might also include edges of the ceiling, floor, and adjacent walls in order to create a complete picture and allow the app to calculate the size of the space. You can even place the new piece next to something already on your wall.
With the current push to support small businesses and artisans like those who sell via Etsy (over 2 million of them), the new tool gives the consumer peace of mind that the picture will work in their home, finally filling the void on that annoyingly vacant wall.
“At Etsy, supporting small businesses is at the heart of everything we do,” Etsy’s Chief Product Officer, Kruti Patel Goyal, told Mashable. “Our continued investment in new technologies like augmented reality is helping to ensure that we’re well-positioned to connect buyers and sellers through the most challenging times. And because our listings are handmade or vintage, they’re often one-of-a-kind, so the more that we can do to help buyers visualize items before they check out, the better for our sellers.”
As of July 1st, 2020, the app update is currently in beta mode and only available on iOS and iPadOS. Plans to launch an Android version are on the horizon. Currently, the features are only available in the categories of Paintings, Photography, or Prints, but if all goes well, it may expand to other categories on the site, as well.
Although AR is nothing new, a combination of closing brick-and-mortar stores, physical distancing, and shelter-in-place orders seems to have presented an opportunity to expand those capabilities within companies large and small. Now you can shop for a new couch or other IKEA furniture, placing it virtually into your space without leaving the comfort of your own sofa. Similarly, you can virtually try on sunglasses or sample paint color on your walls. Some clothing companies are even getting on board in the form of virtual dressing rooms where you can input your body dimensions to try on attire. All of this investment in technology not only makes it easier for consumers to select the right product while shopping online, but reduces the need for returns (especially helpful in the case of bulky furniture), and it also helps buyers confidently make purchases they might not have otherwise completed due to uncertainty.