Throughout the pandemic, CORT and other furniture retailers learned how important it was to customers to be flexible with their home and office spaces. CORT, like many retailers, also realized the importance of having an effective ecommerce platform.
That helped guide CORT’s decision to research and eventually implement three-dimensional (3D) and augmented-reality (AR) technologies. In turn, that helped boost the furniture retailer’s conversion rate 111% through February.
Mindy Oliver, CORT’s executive director of marketing, said the furniture retailer launched those capabilities on its site in January. CORT currently has 150 products on its website that customers can engage with using 3D imaging and AR. And data shows CORT customers like the added functionality.
CORT conversion and revenue increases
February was the first full month the technologies were available. In that time, beds and sofas received the most interaction, Oliver said.
And the conversion boost continued beyond just the first month. Through March, “CORT has seen a 108% lift in our conversion rates for this set of products among users who interact with the 3D features,” she said. “We’re able to compare to those who do not interact with those features.”
Through May, they surpassed the first month’s success, as conversion jumped up to 117%. Those products had a 122% increase in revenue per visit for desktop users. For mobile, it was a 78% increase.
Oliver said the way customers interact with 3D assets on the website is a relatively similar experience on desktop and mobile. Customers can spin products and see them from different angles. CORT worked with Vertebrae to implement both the 3D and AR. Vertebrae’s platform enables 3D and AR asset creation, management, and deployment across multiple channels and formats, according to its website.
“For AR, if you are on desktop and you select that option on the product, it will give you a QR code you then scan with your phone,” Oliver said. “But everything is happening in a web browser and not requiring you to download an app.”
Through March — more than two full months of integration — that revenue increase was at 95% across both desktop and mobile, Oliver said. And through May, revenue increased further to 120% for desktop visits. It was up 74% for mobile users compared with revenue before 3D and AR integration.
The key point, Oliver said, is that the AR technology has improved conversion rates for traffic that would traditionally come to the site.
CORT uses AR to ensure a smoother move
CORT provides transitional furnishings. That could include furniture rentals for home, office or events. Oliver said CORT was trying to address the problem of identifying furniture needs for spaces customers have never seen in person. This became increasingly valuable during the pandemic as the United States housing market saw homes bought in about a month. But it also helped customers who had to redesign their homes to accommodate remote work, she said.
“Being able to be flexible with your furniture and space needs, whether that’s turning your living room into your home office, or your dining table,” Oliver said. “I feel like that was the big story during the pandemic.”
And whereas the CORT brand primarily focuses on transition furnishing, that furniture is also sold through CORT Furniture Outlet.
“Typically, our furniture goes through a process of being rented out,” Oliver said. “Then it finds its forever home in one of our outlet locations, which is our sustainability part of our business. It is sold in one of our furniture outlets, typically to home and office customers.”
She said CORT Furniture Outlet does have showrooms where shoppers can go in and see the furniture. It also has an ecommerce platform on which shoppers can search by location. However, it currently does not have 3D imaging available. CORT Furniture Outlet launched in June 2021.
“It’s really about the ability to reuse product rather than use it once and dispose,” she said.
Although Oliver said she could not elaborate for proprietary reasons, she told Digital Commerce 360 that Vertebrae had the technology and ability to scale that CORT was looking for. That’s not just for the initial launch of 150 products, she said, but more long-term partnership capabilities.
Vince Cacace, Vertebrae’s CEO and founder, told Digital Commerce 360 via email that many of CORT’s customers must relocate quickly. For some, there’s no time to shop in-store.
“Being able to see these products in their space at the right size and scale, and examine details of the textures and fabrics, creates buyer confidence,” Cacace said.
Oliver said the furniture business is seasonal by nature, and that CORT tends to align with heavy moving seasons.
“From a timing perspective, it was critical that we launched this technology ahead of the summer for 2022, which is when we typically see a lot of need for furniture rental arise,” Oliver said.
Shoppers can have real-time interaction with products, she said. That includes spinning and seeing all angles of the product on CORT.com.
“Or they can use the augmented-reality functionality and place the furniture in their space,” Oliver said. “They can help identify whether that piece of furniture specifically is going to fit their needs.”
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