Target is stepping up its game in augmented reality.
When perusing select furniture items on Target.com's mobile website, shoppers can now tap a "See It In Your Space" button. Users are then directed to take a picture of the room in their home where they want to place the item (or choose a picture from their photo library). A digital version of the product then pops up in the picture and users can move it around the room, make it bigger or smaller and rotate it, to get a better sense of how it would look in that space.
For now, the feature is limited to about 200 items in Target's new Project 62 home line, but plans are in the works for it to be rolled out to hundreds more items by the end of the year, and thousands by next year.
The technology was built in-house by Target's tech teams in India and in the Twin Cities. The retailer has been quietly testing the capability since the summer on a handful of items on the website. After getting feedback and making tweaks, Target announced Tuesday it has began to further roll it out.
Target is not the first retailer to dabble in this area. Others such as Pottery Barn and Wayfair have rolled out similar capabilities in apps, but most of them have been in partnership with Google's Project Tango technology, which means it has been limited it to certain models of phones (that doesn't include iPhones).
Lowe's has also recently released new apps that allow users to envision pieces of furniture in a room at scale. And Houzz, the home design app, also offers similar features.
But Eddie Baeb, a Target spokesman, said the retailer believes it's one of a few companies out there that have built such an augmented reality experience in a mobile web environment.
"You don't need to have an app or a special device -- you just need a smartphone with a browser," he said. "So we're really excited about it."
He added that there are plans to add the capability into the Target app down the road. And Target is hoping to refine how well it shows the piece of furniture at scale in the room.
I played around with "See It In Your Space" button a bit at work today. Ever wonder what a floor lamp would look like the middle of the Star Tribune newsroom? Or how about a lounge chair in the nook by the stairs? Well, wonder no more.