Lowe’s takes AR immersion to the next level
Lowe’s has put a lot of resources into adding high-tech flare to the home improvement shopping experience in recent years. Now the retailer’s Innovation Lab is partnering with one of the biggest names in computing to pilot its latest in-store gadget, the HoloLens.
The HoloLens is Microsoft’s augmented reality (AR) headset (“mixed reality” in Microsoft vernacular) and is being implemented in a few Lowe’s stores in the Seattle area, according to TechCrunch. The HoloLens will allow Lowe’s customers to walk around an environment and see potential design elements and hardware superimposed in the room as holograms.
The technology in some ways resembles the Lowe’s Holoroom, which debuted in 2014. The Holoroom presents a view of a room through a hand-held tablet that superimposes different potential furnishings. But the HoloLens promises a more immersive and detailed experience, with the hologram-filled room occupying customers’ entire field of vision.
A blog entry by Lowe’s boasts of HoloLens’s level of detail that allows users to see the distinction between different textures on the holographic appliances it displays. Lowe’s speculated that the technology could someday be available for home use.
HoloLens could also affect the setup of the stores themselves were it to catch on. The Next Web reported that Microsoft is billing HoloLens as enabling the retailer to “bring customers a new way to experience full-scale design and appliance options while maximizing precious floor space in the store.”
With pop-up stores and smaller outlets that act as auxiliaries to online shops catching on as alternatives to traditional brick-and-mortar stores, HoloLens could shape the future of the small format showroom.
Lowe’s has already shown an interest in going smaller in an area of retail known for its large stores. Last year Lowe’s launched two small format stores in Manhattan geared towards urban living. In addition to being one-third the size of an average suburban Lowe’s outlet, the stores utilize a range of interactive touchscreens and interactive tables to help tech-savvy urban shoppers with their choices.
- Microsoft and Lowe’s are bringing HoloLens to home improvement stores – TechCrunch
- Lowe’s builds the Holodeck of home improvement – The Verge
- Microsoft and Lowe’s want you to redesign your kitchen using Hololens – GeekWire
- Microsoft and Lowe’s want you to redesign your kitchen using Hololens – The Next Web
- New NYC Lowe’s locations are small format, high-tech – RetailWire
How likely are large numbers of shoppers to use AR devices like the HoloLens as part of their in-store experience? Could AR have a meaningful impact on store layouts in the near future?