IKEA is set to launch a new app to allow customers to shop remotely for products they can visualise in the context of their own homes. The app will lessen the need for them to travel to its vast network of self-service and out-of-town stores.
One of the world’s biggest furniture retailers is shifting its business model from pushing customers through its suburban stores towards making shopping easier online, and downtown.
“It is a completely new experience,” Barbara Martin Coppola, Chief Digital Officer at IKEA, told Reuters. He added, “The app is combined with the store experience, with the online experience.”
Firstly, the app will be launched in France and the Netherlands and will be rolled out in IKEA’s top eight markets, including Germany, the US, and China by the end of 2019.
Just by inputting room dimensions and choosing from different tastes and life stages, the app will allow users to visualise how their homes could be furnished with IKEA products. After selection, users can then order those products through the app.
IKEA originally launched an augmented reality (AR) app in 2017 which allowed customers to see how more than 2,000 items would fit into their homes, but shopping facility was unavailable. IKEA’s main app carries its full range of product but they are still showed in isolation. Customers can only add items to a shopping list for use during a store visit.
Last month, fast-growing British online furniture retailer Made.com launched a new interior design service for a fee, which uses AI to recommend products and 3D technology to show what the furnished room will look like.
Similarly, other players experimenting with augmented reality include Williams-Sonoma, which bought 3D imaging firm—Outward in 2017, and the U.S. startup Modsy, which raised $37 million to expand in 360-degree room and furniture imaging.
IKEA’s new app will be a supplement to the group’s move to trial smaller downtown stores with a narrower range, like the one it opened in the heart of Paris earlier in 2019.