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    April 5, 2016
    3 minute read

    Strap on your headsets: Lowe's goes augmented reality

    by: Peter Crosby

    The Takeaway: Lowe's is offering in-store augmented reality experiences, and as such is ushering in the next generation of shopping.

    Have you ever tried to picture how new furniture, different colored walls or complete renovations would change your kitchen, living room or bedroom? You've probably taken measurements, held up paint swatches or even created - perhaps poorly - digital blueprints to help you imagine.

    Well, put those brain cells away. That's what we have - or rather will have - technology for. Augmented and virtual reality promise to revolutionize the way we reinvent spaces.

    Lowe's - a retail chain of home improvement stores - is on the cutting edge of AR/VR, announcing the other day that it has entered a partnership with Microsoft to transform how its customers complete home renovations. With the Microsoft Hololens at certain locations, shoppers can strap on a headset and digitally experience what kitchen furniture - cabinets, appliances, countertops and more - looks like without Lowe's needing to have all those items in stock at every store.

    As if that customer experience wasn't cool enough, Hololens users at Lowe's will be able to adjust their augmented environments in real time, changing the smaller details to create a more personal space, while their families, friends and designers look on via a Surface tablet.

    Talk about 21st century shopping.

    "AR/VR allows brands to deliver better shopping experiences."

    And of course, this new digital experience isn't meant to supplant traditional buying, but rather enhance and optimize in-store interactions by giving consumers more options without Lowe's breaking the bank, L2 Inc reported.

    There are plenty of benefits associated with offering AR/VR experiences, but it keeps coming back to these two pros:

    1. It allows brands to deliver better, more engaging shopping experiences.
    2. It helps retailers provide consumers with more information, and when informed, it's easier to make big purchasing decisions - such as home renovations.

    Lowe's isn't the first to tackle AR/VR - we've talked about these technologies in the past - but this partnership with Microsoft just proves the potential of these tools when it comes to digitally optimizing shopping experiences.

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