Furniture retailer Barker & Stonehouse is planning to launch an augmented reality website next year as it reveals an increase in sales and profits.
Barker & Stonehouse managing director James Barker said his in-house digital team are set to start work on the website in the new year with a view to have it ready for summer 2014.
“We’ve got to keep up with these developments,” he said. “One of the biggest difficulties we have is that people want to see how the furniture will look in their home. We get customers who order items that are too big for their homes, which this would help with.
“If we make it easier for customers they’ll be a lot happier to buy things.”
Other home retailers have been tapping into augmented reality technology. Made.com and Kingfisher’s French retailer Castorama both launched augmented reality apps, while Ikea launched an augmented reality catalogue in August.
Barker & Stonehouse unveiled pre-tax profit increased 13% to £1.3m for the year to March 31 and sales jumped 1.5% to £40.2m. The retailer said it was a “satisfactory” performance given the “difficult underlying economic and trading conditions”, as it had focused on the product mix and kept costs under control.
In the year its Metro Centre store was hit by a “significant” flood and had to be refitted.
Barker & Stonehouse operates nine stores which are located mainly in the north of England, but in July opened its first southern store in Battersea, south London.
Barker said he was “very pleased” with how the Battersea store had performed. He said there were no more stores in the pipeline at the moment and will review how the Battersea store performs to inform whether it opens further London stores.