Epigraph, a Kansas City-based 3D and augmented reality technology company, has announced a new partnership with global hardware retailer Ace Hardware. Epigraph will become the exclusive augmented reality and 3D content provider for Ace Hardware, which has more than 5,000 stores worldwide.
The startup’s technology can be found on Ace’s website in the form of 3D product tours and an augmented reality QR code that allows customers to envision how a product will look in their space.
Epigraph took part in a six-month pilot with Ace in which the company had to validate the return on investment for its 3D and AR technology, and meet Ace’s standards.
“It was a pretty big bet,” said Jasper Mullarney, Epigraph CEO. “There was a lot of upfront investment in our technology, in our infrastructure and things like insurance and policy to go live on a major retailer like Ace. At the beginning, we were pretty confident that the numbers would be there and that users would respond well to this. … It’s a big bet that paid off.”
The technology spurred customers to spend longer on the website and made them more likely not only to add items to their cart, but then buy them. They also spent more money and had markedly lower return rates than those who didn’t engage with the AR option.
“Epigraph’s technology has delivered a significant improvement in both engagement and performance for Ace vendors — our customers really love it,” said Brian Kritzberg, Digital Merchandising Manager at Ace Hardware.
In the future, Epigraph envisions adding another compelling component for Ace. Brick-and-mortar stores have limited space for stocking inventory, but Epigraph can expand that virtually. Customers could scan QR codes on the sales floor to view additional options, experience a product in 3D or augmented reality, and then place an order.