XPO Logistics has added an augmented reality app to its last-mile delivery service that lets shoppers visualize a piece in their living space before having it installed, with a view to cutting down on returns for its retail customers and improving the overall experience.
Until now augmented reality has mostly been the domain of furniture retailers like Wayfair, Lowe’s and Anthropologie, as well as apparel companies like Lacoste and Timberland and cosmetics sellers Charlotte Tilbury, L’Oreal and Sephora.
The XPO app lets shoppers receive an image of their new piece and view it in a room at its actual dimensions using picture mode to determine location, height and fit.
Troy Cooper, president of XPO Logistics, said the AR app was built in house by XPO’s IT team and is part of their Ship XPO self-service platform. Cooper said it helps consumers get a better understanding of how a piece fits into their design scheme, while helping retailers cut down on returns through damages and allows XPO’s contract carriers to hit more stops per day.
“It makes for a better customer interaction,” he said. “If they bought a new flat-screen TV, they can find out, does it fit or not fit, should it go on the wall or a stand, how will it look in my entertainment center? They can go through all that decision-making not when the delivery arrives but ahead of the process.”
XPO has also recently introduced a voice component to Ship XPO that lets shoppers track a shipment by talking to their Amazon Echo or Google Home device. Eventually the company plans to add an artificial intelligence component so the virtual assistant can suggest complimentary items, such as a surge protector or wall mounting hardware.
“All these things like AR, AI and voice are capabilities we’re building and bolting onto the core last-mile technology to keep enhancing the consumer experience,” Cooper said.
In September XPO announced an expansion of its last-mile network that by the end of 2018 will include 85 hubs that can reach 90% of the U.S. population. Earlier this year it also launched last-mile operations in five European countries. The company’s last-mile service was acquired with 3PD Holding Inc. in 2013 for $365 million.