Kansas City, Mo.—Beacon KC, a division of Eckard's Home Improvement, recently unveiled an innovative new technology at its showroom here, which allows customers to visualize area rugs in detail with a brand-new, proprietary augmented reality projection system.
Originally conceived by Steve Eckard, Beacon KC owner, this visualization and projection system was designed to offer a cutting-edge, interactive shopping experience without compromising customer service.
The Beacon KC-exclusive system uses a tablet and a ceiling-mounted projector to display high-resolution, color-corrected images of thousands of different area rugs on a 9 x 13-foot simulated wood background, allowing customers to see the rugs in augmented reality and to make more informed purchases for their home.
“The current area rug buying process is limited by what a retailer can carry in the store,” said Virginia Decker, store manager and style consultant, Beacon KC. “This new system simplifies, streamlines and expedites the area rug shopping process.”
The process can begin at home, as the showroom tool ties to a web browser that offers customers the opportunity to indicate their favorite rugs and either make an appointment or drop-in the Kansas City store to see projections of their top choices.
“We wanted to combine the convenience and versatility of online shopping with the personal attention and customer service of in-store shopping experience,” explained Alex Eckard, co-founder and strategist, Beacon KC.
Incorporating a wide range of dimensions and price points, the projection system can showcase area rugs in a variety of materials. Customers can see one-of-a-kind, antique, silk, wool and hand-knotted rugs from top antique Persian rug dealers, including Kansas City’s own Aladdin Oriental Rug Company.
“Our new visualization system has been very well received so far,” Eckard said. “It’s accessible, easy to use and more convenient for today’s customers.”
Beacon KC plans to further enhance the visualization system by adding broadloom, hardwood and tile flooring projections as well. Area rugs will also be able to be projected on a variety of virtual hardwood flooring and polished concrete surfaces.
Currently only available in Beacon KC’s northwest Missouri showroom, the technology is expected to be implemented at the company’s Eckard’s Home Improvement store in Savannah, Ga., in the coming months. The system is also available to other retailers interested in adding this innovative system.
“Although we designed this projection system for Beacon KC and our family business, we see the potential impact this system can have on the flooring industry,” Eckard said. “We are happy to work with other retailers to make this technology available to their customers as well.”