Santa Monica-based augmented reality advertising and software provider Vertebrae announced Nov. 12 the launch of its new e-commerce AR platform, Axis.

Axis allows customers to try on clothes or design rooms in AR to visualize a product before purchase. Vertebrae’s first Axis customer is Tenth Street Hats, a Stockton, Calif., haberdashery established in 1925. Tenth Street Hats operates several storefronts, but the company hopes the addition of a VR browser brings more web traffic to its growing online business.

“With Vertebrae and the Axis platform we're now able to provide our customers with the ability to virtually try on hats on our site - up close, at any angle, on their very own head," said Tenth Street Hats Chief Executive Carson Finkle. "Vertebrae’s technology solves the friction problem of requiring our customers to download an app in order to have an AR product experience, and handles the hard work of delivering AR to any device or operating system so that we can focus on delighting our customers."

Since beginning use of the Axis feature in August, Tenth Street Hats has reported a 33 percent increase in purchases and a 74.3 percent audience engagement increase on its website – essentially, people linger longer on the site and spend more.

In addition to Tenth Street Hats, Vertebrae expects Crate and Barrel Holdings Inc. to begin using its platform before year’s end, according to a spokeswoman. Crate and Barrel’s use of Axis will be similar to Boston-based Wayfair Inc.’s virtual reality “patio playground” app, which lets users virtually design an outdoor space by selecting and arranging VR furniture.

Vertebrae serves Santa Monica-based Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and Culver City headquartered Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. with its other offerings, 360-degree video and web-based AR advertising. For Lions Gate, Vertebrae helped craft VR ads for the 2016 “Blair Witch” film as well as create a web-based AR ad campaign for its theater release.

Since its founding in 2015 Vertebrae has raised $10 million. A survey of 200 people conducted by the firm in November 2018 found that 90 percent of respondents expressed satisfaction with AR experiences, but only one in five has experienced its retail applications.

“As virtual experiences move into the mainstream, retailers can no longer afford to approach AR as a novelty or one-off experiment” said Vince Cacace, Chief Executive of Vertebrae. “The key to success is to meaningfully integrate AR into the commerce experience to drive conversion and sales and ensuring AR is available to any shopper, on any device, anywhere they want to shop – not simply on an app.”

Tech reporter Samson Amore can be reached at samore@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 556-8335. Follow him on Twitter @samsonamore.