Etsy collaborated with leading creative visualization studio The Boundary to develop a virtual house they call The Etsy House that enables users to walk through and explore curated items from Etsy’s marketplace displayed in a 360-degree visual augmented reality setting.
As Etsy explains the home:
“With photorealistic and true-to-scale renderings, seamless navigation, and 360-degree visuals, The Etsy House transports shoppers to a one-of-a-kind virtual home filled with holiday decor and gifts, Etsy Design Awards winners (both past and present), bespoke furniture and artwork, and other fun surprises. Even better, the house is shoppable – when you hover over select items, a pop-up will provide more information on the product and a link to purchase.”
This new augmented reality (AR) experience is different from the AR features the company launched last year in its IOS app.
The house design is fixed, and items displayed in the house are selected by Etsy. It is not possible for users to provide input into which items to display or make changes to decor or colors of the house.
With the AR features in the IOS Etsy app, buyers can visualize items like photography, paintings, and prints as if they were hanging in their own home or office.
The Etsy House
However, the Etsy House is still an interesting proof of concept demonstration as it may hint at possible future enhancements to its existing augmented reality feature that may one day enable buyers to decorate a room or entire house from scratch using their own space as the “canvas.”
Also, impressive is that the virtual house can be viewed on a modern smartphone, laptop, or desktop. It’s even possible to walk up stairways (I found two) to check out more rooms and featured Etsy items.
Users can avoid walking around hallways by just clicking the little rooms icon in the top right corners which displays a pop-up of available rooms in The Etsy House.
Overall, the experience is very good as tested on an iPhone 12 Pro Max and one year old mid-range Windows based business laptop with touchscreen.
The virtual house did task an older computer a bit, making the experience sluggish. But that was to be expected considering the resources it takes to render the virtual environment in a browser.
Samsung Promotion Embedded in The Etsy House
In addition to curated Etsy items, the company partnered with Samsung to showcase the brand’s Serif QLED 4K UHD HDR Smart TVs throughout the house.
When a user clicks on the link associated with the TV, it will send them to the Samsung website where the company currently offers a $100 Etsy gift card when purchasing a Serif TV.
Despite the gift card tie in, there is no mention of a sponsorship or other promotional arrangement with Samsung when visiting The Etsy House. This is something Etsy should consider to be more open about as users may be confused why they are being directed to a non-Etsy website when clicking on a TV.
The Etsy House virtual environment is hosted at theetsyhouse.com.
For those users who prefer to just check out the items Etsy curated for the virtual home without going to augmented reality environment, they can go directly to The Etsy House home page on Etsy.com
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