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Amazon wants AR to make online shopping like The Sims – report

Online shopping could soon get an augmented reality twist, as a new report suggests Amazon is working on a way to drag and drop virtual furniture into a simulated version of our homes.

That’s the latest word from an anonymous source close to the New York Times, who recently told the publication that Amazon has considered using forms of augmented reality to people see exactly what items like sofas, ovens, sideboards and other furniture would look like in a room before clicking to buy.

If this idea was set in motion, Amazon shoppers might be more likely to take the plunge and order larger, more expensive items they might have previously been reluctant to buy without being able to picture them in their homes.

There’s also the ultimate dream fulfilment of being able to arrange furniture in a virtual recreation of our very own houses, just like The Sims. If there’s a sudden spike in sales of chess tables and chaise longues, we wouldn’t be surprised.

Speaking of which, it’s unclear whether Amazon would indeed provide a gaming-style platform for customers to construct their AR homes, or whether there would be the option to use 360-degree images – or even VR footage – to create a realistic on-screen likeness.

The same Amazon source also revealed to the New York Times that the company is also exploring the idea of physical shops to sell furniture and home appliances – again with the idea of showcasing products for wary customers who would prefer to see them in real life first.

Given Amazon has already opened its own book shops in several cities across the US, this doesn’t seem like such a far off reality.

A separate Amazon source also told the New York Times that Amazon is toying with the idea of electronics shops with a heavy emphasis on Amazon’s own offerings, such as its recently-launched Echo speaker and Prime Video streaming service.

Coming from a retailer that once looked likely to wipe out physical shopping for good, that’s proof that there are some products that we’d all rather leave the house for.

Related: What is HoloLens?

Do you think augmented reality is the future of shopping? Let us know in the comments.

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