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Sigh no more: IKEA’s new AR app eases shopper worries

By Joss Davidge | 2017-09-28

Let’s face it – all of us have made at least one IKEA purchase in our lives that we’ve quickly regretted.

Inside the perfectly-presented confines of the IKEA showroom, everything looks great. So great, in fact, that items inextricably end up in our shopping baskets time and again, even though they were never on our shopping lists when we first entered the store.

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But is there any feeling as frustrating as squeezing a giant piece of furniture into a car two sizes too small, getting it home, spending the entire weekend wrestling with flat-pack instructions, and getting the item into place – only to discover that, in the context of your own home, it looks absolutely dreadful?

Worry no longer, because IKEA – a company that has built up an empire by finding solutions to life’s problems – has come up with the answer. An augmented reality app.

IKEA Place, which has now started to roll out on Apple’s App Store, is a new AR app that allows any iPhone users with iOS 11 to experience, experiment with and pop IKEA products into any space in their home, to see whether the products actually look good in situ before making the trip to the nearest blue-and-yellow megastore.

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It’s been built using Apple’s brand new ARKit technology – which has been described by Inter IkeaSystems’ digital transformation leader Michael Valdsgaard as “a total game changer for retail in the same way as the internet.” IKEA is leading the way in this use of the new technology, with others likely to follow suit in the months ahead – after all, it’s an incredibly logical use for AR that makes a whole lot of sense to us.

The new IKEA Place app has the clever ability to automatically scale products based on room dimensions, and is reported to be 98% accurate. It also allows users to see how light and shadows are rendered on furnishings to make really informed purchasing decisions. Clever.

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And, of course, the results of the app are available to be captured and shared on social media with friends, allowing for personal feedback from social communities before the real room transformation begins to take place.

Take a look at the promo video below: 

With more than 2,000 products available at launch, and many more planned for the future, it’s a big step forward for retailers. It’s not IKEA’s first foray into AR shopping (a catalogue app launched in 2013), and it’s certainly not the first time that the brand has gone down the experiential route with customers – from its hard-hitting Red Cross showroom to its pop-up café in Toronto, IKEA remains happy to take chances and push the marketing envelope.

But this is an important move for IKEA as the company continues to look for more innovative ways to use technology to enhance customer experiences and secure long-lasting brand love.



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