Shoppers can now find out what size Christmas tree will fit in their home using virtual reality through the John Lewis app. Customers can try out decorated or undecorated festive centrepieces to avoid coming home with the wrong size.
The app is free and allows buyers can browse through the department store's range of real and artificial trees. After selecting the one you want to try out, you'll need to tap the "View in your room" button. The app will need access to your camera, which you will need to point at the floor and then moving it slowly from side to side to scan the room.
It uses augmented reality to gauge an idea of the size of the room and the objects in it so your tree is in proportion with its surroundings.
How to use the virtual Christmas tree app
HERE'S how to use the virtual Christmas tree app once you've downloaded it from the Apple store:
- Open the John Lewis app
- Search or browse for Christmas trees in the app and look for the "View in room" label for trees that you can view virtually
- Open the product page and tap the "View in your room" button
- Tap "Get Started", hold the phone towards the floor and move slowly from side to side to scan the room
- When a square appears tap it to load the Christmas tree onto the screen
- Double-tap to turn dimensions off and on
- Use one finger to move the product around the screen and two fingers to rotate the product for a full 360 view.
When it's ready, point the device at the part of the room where you want the tree to go and then tap it. Users will then be able move the tree around the screen and rotate it for a full 360 view.
It's not the first retailer to offer a virtual reality Christmas tree app - Ikea launched one in 2017. But the department store has launched a handful of other virtual reality apps this year as many shoppers have been unable to visit stores due to coronavirus measures.
Customers can browse its range of festive decorations and table settings around a store in a Google Street View-style interactive map from home. They are also able to try out different seating styles at home with the virtual reality sofa feature, and the virtual lipstick feature let customers "try on" makeup to find one that suits them.
Unfortunately, the virtual reality feature in the John Lewis app is only available on iOS13 or later devices, which is the software on the latest iPhones and iPad models. You won't be able to use it if you have an Android phone, such as a Samsung or Google Pixel.
Another drawback is that shoppers can only try out half of the Christmas trees that the retailer sells. It's not clear whether John Lewis will be adding more of its range at a later date.
Jason Billings-Cray, from John Lewid said: "Choosing a Christmas tree can be a really special moment for any family as that tree can be with them for many years, this may be a little different but all the family can see and choose one." Cassandra Bergland, from Omnichannel, the developers behind the app, said that it will help customers to "feel confident with their final choice."