Pottery Barn has teamed up with Google to create 3D Room View, a new mobile app to allow all wannabe interior designers (like me) to pick out the perfect couch, table, or whatever, and then overlay it onto a spot in his or her house.
I used to obsess over the Pottery Barn Teen designs dreaming for the day when my parents would buy me that oh-so-perfect PBteen set. PBteen had the coolest bunk beds, built-in bookshelves, and entertainment centers for all your friends to come over after school and eat popcorn in front of. At least, that's what the catalogs made me believe, and I regarded them like they were the Bible.
Also, if you remember playing the original Animal Crossing game and then designing your house to be exactly like one of the villagers' houses, well, I think Pottery Barn's new AR app is going to be even better than that. You can take any furniture item within Pottery Barn, overlay it onto your very own room, and then see if it matches with your current wood floors or shimmery pink curtains.
Use your smartphone's camera to present the furniture against the backdrop of your actual room. Then, after designing your perfect room with all the wonderful PB furniture, you can check out or move onto the next room in your house. This is one big plan to lure in all you tech-savvy customers, from William-Sonoma, owners of the San-Francisco retailer.
See how products look and fit with your existing furniture and decor, or empty the room to start the design process from scratch. Add rugs and lamps, change the color of upholstery and pillows, and zoom in to see every little detail.
The app still has its limitations though. Currently, and sadly, the app will only run on phones that handle Google's Project Tango technology. Okay, so which phones do? Only two right now, my friends. The already released Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, and the Asus ZenFone AR, which should be released in the second quarter of this year. If you have a Lenovo or are planning to get an Asus, good for you. If you don't, I'm so sorry to let you down.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, in an interview with the company, the app is coming out this month and will initially focus on decorating and furnishing living rooms. More rooms will be added later on this year, along with another app that allows shoppers to "spin a photo of a couch to view all angles and another that customers can use to design a room around a desk."
Our vision is to offer innovative shopping and design capabilities across all Williams-Sonoma ... brands, starting with Pottery Barn and PBteen this spring.
Pottery Barn is not the first to use augmented reality as a home furnishing retailer. In 2013, Ikea made an AR app tied to its catalog. Last year, Palo Alto's Houzz came out with an interior design app that has an "AR View in My Room" feature.
Williams-Sonoma currently reports a fourth-quarter net income of $144.6 million on revenue of $1.58 billion, missing Wall Street expectations. According to GlobalData Retail analyst Håkon Helgesen, the burden of this loss lies on Pottery Barn's shoulders. He calls the brand "murky" and "ill-defined."
On March 31, Pottery Barn Brands President Sandra Stangl will resign after being with the company for 23 years. Marta Benson was named the president of Pottery Barn and Jennifer Kellor will become the president of Pottery Barn Kids and PBteens. As the company gears up to restructure its leadership, the new AR app is hoped to make the PB brand relevant once more. Allowing the app to be accessible to users on all smartphone platforms, would be a good start.