This April's Website of the Month is actually rather the 'App of the month': Finland-based augmented reality innovator Sayduck believes that only 50% of e-commerce customers would be ready to buy a product without seeing it first. Hence, they developed a technology that allows customers to examine a product closely in 3D via a mobile device, before buying it online. This technology was born with the aim to support sales of design and home decor objects, but the app is gradually helping customers with their decision to buy bags, footwear and accessories online. We spoke to Sayduck's CEO Mikko Martikainen. Interview by Maria Cristina Pavarini

Sayduck simulation for Vitra
Sayduck simulation for Vitra
Can you describe how the app is structured and how it is working?
The Sayduck app provides a fun and easy way to find and get inspired by great design. It lets consumers explore, engage with and see the products in front of them via Augmented Reality.

How did the app originate?
I experienced the need for the app first-hand when furniture shopping for my newborn’s nursery. That was the time I decided to leverage my background and experience in visual effects and start partnering with brands and retailers to improve how customers shop for products using their mobile device.

When did you launch it and what was the initial reaction?
After doing some guerilla market research by showing an early prototype to brands we soft launched with Kartell during Salone del Mobile in April 2013. The reaction was very positive with plenty of engagement from both businesses and consumers.

To whom is it addressed?
The app is aimed at what we call the ‘IKEA-graduates’ – people who value great design and are ready to pay a bit more for it.

How many members does the app currently have and how many are you looking to have in the long run?
We currently have around 50k app downloads on the platform.

What have been the biggest challenges of running the app so far? And the greatest joys?
The biggest challenge is just running a startup with all the ups and downs that come with it. The greatest joy has been seeing some of our users delight when they first try our app.

Sayduck allows users to 'see' pieces of furniture in their home as if it was already there
Sayduck allows users to 'see' pieces of furniture in their home as if it was already there

What services are you offering through it right now?
At the moment our users can browse and see great designs from multiple leading brands in their homes – as if it’s already there. They can take photos of the virtual product and share it with their friends and family on social media and after finding the perfect design for their home they can buy it directly from the app.

What new services are you planning to add in the near or long-term run?
One of the big app features coming up soon is the support for marker-less mode where the user doesn’t need a printed piece of paper to experience the products. Other new improvements are the options to view multiple products at one time.

Is fashion, streetwear or sportswear playing any important role in your app?
Although our main focus has been on the furniture industry we have recently started working with fashion accessories such as shoes and handbags as well. For instance, we created a campaign with Onitsuka Tiger where they promoted an exclusive design via the Sayduck app before it launched.

The Sayduck simulation for Onitsuka Tiger
The Sayduck simulation for Onitsuka Tiger

How do you stay in touch with your members? How important is the social network aspect for this app?

We love social media – our app allows the users to take photos of the virtual products and share them with their friends and family on social media.

What section, service or part of the app do you personally like most?
I love the ability to see cool looking design in my home. Even though I cannot afford most of them now, every time I see a great product I’m closer to pulling the trigger and buying it!