AR App Part of IKEA’s New Core Sales and Strategy
IKEA wants you to enhance how you shop from the comfort of your own home with its new app. The company is shifting its customer approach by emphasizing on the app and smaller downtown stores. The new IKEA app will enable customers to visualize their potential purchases from the comfort of their homes so they can make a decision on what to purchase beforehand before they even go to the brick-and-mortar retail store.
Concurrently, IKEA is also planning to open additional small downtown retail stores in the city centers, a shift from the company’s previous focus on the large superstores that were situated on the fringes of cities.
Of relevance to the immersive industry is the IKEA apps that will be combined with the store experience to offer users a more wholesome shopping experience both online and offline.
IKEA has recently been refocusing its efforts on the digital experience. The company already has a mobile app and an AR app, the IKEA Store and IKEA Place apps. The new app strategy will involve a marriage of sorts between these existing apps, although the apps will still be operating independently.
The IKEA Place app was unveiled in September 2017 and allowed potential buyers to visualize their furniture purchases inside their homes via augmented reality. However, to complete the purchase, the Place app still redirected buyers back to the IKEA Store app. The new IKEA app, which is yet to be named, will make it possible for buyers to make purchases directly inside the augmented reality experience.
The new IKEA app will also coincide with the in-store visits performed by customers by providing an option through which customers can visualize on the showroom floor the variations of the products on offer that are not currently available at a particular store. Say if you are planning to purchase some furniture piece and it is currently out of stock, you will still be able to use the app to visualize the product inside a room via AR. IKEA expects that these immersive features and other enhancements will help drive its online sales.
The new app will also include the complete line-up of IKEA products. However, customers will only be able to add products to their shopping list when they are physically in the store.
The new IKEA app no doubt includes some inspirational content along with product recommendations. The app will also incorporate a shoppable feed that will give the app a Pinterest-like feel. The enhanced AR-enabled technology which provides vivid visualization of products will come in handy for product categories that are not easy to describe and where the returns process is extremely cumbersome due to the bulky nature of the items and the associated high cost of transportation.
IKEA hopes the new enhancements will make its brand and products more accessible to buyers and bring the IKEA experience to more users around the world.
The app is currently in the “initial phases of testing” and will be launching first in France and the Netherlands before it expands to other markets across the globe by the end of this year. The app will include features such as integrated augmented reality functionality, a shoppable feed, product reviews and a more seamless search and browse functionality.
The augmented reality functionality will help complement the in-store experience by enabling customers to point their smartphones at IKEA furniture to get different aspects of the piece such as the colors and texture.
Many retailers are currently integrating augmented reality into the shopping experience. Some of the retailers that have created AR shopping apps or tools in the recent past include Lowe’s, Wayfair and Overstock among others.