Kmart has quietly launched a new exciting feature and we couldn’t wait to give it a try!
Remember a little while ago, when Google made us go crazy over virtual zoo pets that we could magically appear in our living room. It was the first introduction for many of us to the funky world of Augmented Reality, otherwise known as AR. We had giraffes poking through the roof and tigers prowling around the kitchen.
IKEA was one of the first major retailers to dabble in AR (which all about superimposing digital elements on to ‘real’ images). They launched the Ikea Place augmented reality app back in 2017 that allowed customers to experience and experiment with adding Ikea products to their home space, to check whether they would fit and how they would look.
Fantastic Furniture also jumped onto the AR bandwagon in 2019, launching their Augmented Reality feature designed to show life-sized products in our own spaces. The feature was aimed to give customers more confidence in their decision process.
See Before You Buy
And now Kmart Australia has joined the AR tech party and has launched their new feature that allows shoppers to superimpose Kmart products into their home before buying.
The Kmart service also features the “KBot Assist” which is a supposed-intelligent chat function that can answer basic questions about Kmart products.
Kmart AR can be accessed via a smart mobile device and basically works by moving your phone around to capture an image of your room and then adding a digital image of your desired Kmart product into the room.
Once the product is placed in your room, you can move it around so you can see the item in different positions and from different angles.
We Tried Out The Kmart AR
We tried out the new AR tools, which can be accessed via the KLabs website.
The first thing we see on the KLabs page is an online catalogue of 48 products, with an image and a price. Not a great start though. Kmart has thousands of products and for me, it’s just not good enough that I can only play around with less than 50 items. Scrolling down the list, the products are mostly furniture – coffee tables, bookshelves, entertainment units, couches. There’s also a kids’ cubby and even a spin bike.
A Bit Flaky
You then click on the item you desire and a new screen opens up and you are prompted to move your phone around to activate the AR. This is when things get a bit dicey. On some attempts, I was moving my phone around like a crazy person waiting for the AR to get going. And it just never did. I found if I stood up and moved the phone from side to side, it activated quicker. Then the product virtually appears in your room and you can move it around, scale it up and down and look at it from different angles.
Once the feature worked, it actually was pretty cool. I got to see what a new armchair would look like in our lounge room. And I crossed the spin bike off the list – it sadly takes up way too much space.
Have A Chat
Then you can return to the main page and have a chat to KBot Assist who will give you basic information about the item – such as the colour, weight and dimensions. And when you’re certain that you like the product, you can then go ahead and purchase it online.
“The immersive AR and AI experience was designed to bring joy and inspiration to customers’ lives,” said Kmart head of digital Melissa Wong.
“With extra help from our AI chatbot personality – KBot assist – we have been able to make shopping easier for customers by sprinkling delight across the customer journey,” she added.
We think this is a good start….but we would like to see more products in the Kmart AR catalogue. It is a fun feature though, even if it’s just to play around with.
Have you tried the new Kmart AR feature? What do you think of it? Tell us in the comments below.