IKEA is upgrading its mobile AR-enabled app to let shoppers order products right after seeing how they would look and fit in their homes. In 2017, IKEA rolled out an augmented reality app that allowed customers to visualize 2,000+ items within their homes and add them to a shopping list for when they come to the store. Originally, customers could only order online via IKEA’s web site, but not through its mobile apps.
As part of the app experience, shoppers can input room dimensions and choose from among different tastes and life stages. The app will allow shoppers to point their phone at a chair in-store to see other textures or colors, or to see it in the context of a room or alongside similar products in the same range.
The mobile app will roll out in France first, then in the Netherlands. By the end of 2019, IKEA will roll it out in the retailer’s eight leading retail markets, including Germany, the U.S. and China, according to Reuters.
IKEA’s main app carries the company’s full merchandise range, but products are still displayed in isolation, and customers only can add items to a shopping list to aid in-store purchases. The move to AR is one that many retailers selling furniture and home furnishings utilizing as more shoppers look to buy these items online:
- Target rolled out the AR-powered “See It In Your Space” mobile feature for furniture and home goods;
- Wayfair and eBay introduced technology that lets shoppers see furniture in their homes before they buy;
- Zara launched AR displays at 120 stores where shoppers can point their smartphones at in-store sensors to see a model wearing an outfit; and
- Williams-Sonoma acquired an AR/3D imaging startup, Outward, for $112 million in 2017, before launching its Design Crew Room Planner measurement platform.
The revamped app aligns with IKEA’s recent shift in its brick-and-mortar strategy, which now focuses on smaller-format stores that offer products designed for urban living and small spaces. As many as 30 of these “city center” stores will open by 2021, and will emphasize product delivery, giving shoppers an opportunity to explore the inventory and select what they need before having it delivered to their homes.
As part of its transformation, IKEA plans to eliminate 7,500 jobs globally through 2021 that the company says will become redundant over the next three years. The eliminated positions mainly include administrative staff in central support functions. The retailer estimates that it will create 11,500 jobs during the same period, through the new store openings and investments in its fulfillment network and digital capabilities.