The latest IKEA app uses augmented reality to simulate furniture in a space in real time. We’ll walk through what all three IKEA apps do. We will also explore what new technologies IKEA is leveraging.
We’ve mentioned the IKEA app in several previous articles about AR apps and in-app shopping. But we didn’t really get into the specifics of how it worked or what it did. So first, let’s set the stage for why IKEA launched an app using augmented reality technology.
While shopping at IKEA, you’ve undoubtedly seen some intense arguments over interior design. IKEA has a solution to prevent these brawls and it involves merging their apps.
What are those apps and what will the new Franken-app do?
A Tale of Three Apps: IKEA’s Shopping Trio
Shopping companion apps are not strange occurrences in the app marketplace. Everyone from Target to Chick-Fil-A has a mobile app these days. But what set IKEA’s new app apart is that it makes use of augmented reality technology.
One of them does anyway. The other two function as shopping companion apps.
The IKEA Store app is your “pocket size shopping buddy” showcasing offers, inventory, product information, and more. IT is available for Android and Apple devices as listed here.
The second IKEA app, the IKEA catalogue app, is billed as “inspiration on the go”. You can browse local brochures, access 360-degree room sets, and see product stories.
IKEA Place is the third app, launched last year, that uses AR to transform a space. You simply snap a picture, browse products, select one, and add it.
You can also share the pictures or save them to your device. Then, reserve the product you want to buy them at a nearby location.
Consider this AR app your “one-stop shop” that lets you test the product before you invest.
I would offer my own screenshots. But sadly, my 3-year old Samsung Galaxy S6 is not listed as a supported device.
According to Digiday, the app had more than 370,000 monthly global active users in February. So what is the furniture giant’s plan to merge these three apps later this year?
Fusion ha: IKEA Apps Become One
That gif is what’s known as the “fusion dance” in the show Dragon Ball Z. It is where two people merge into one super powerful person. This is similar to what IKEA has in mind for its three companion apps.
Michael Valdsgaard is the leader of digital transformation the holding company for IKEA. Before merging the apps, he wants to gain some data on the Android version of the app.
“In the latter half of 2018, we’re going to figure out where the things [in our different apps] fit together and then move them over [into one]…They all have specific use cases, so we have to figure out how those different capabilities can fit together.”
Valdsgaard voiced concerns of loading IKEA Place with too many features. He also does not want to push direct sales via the AR app, a departure from others. However, Valdsgaard does think that the visual search feature could become a cornerstone feature.
As for improving AR tech to better represent the furniture, IKEA has a plan for that, too.
IKEA partnered with 72andSunny to develop a more long-term strategy for AR in their apps. In fact, 72andSunny helped with the Android launch and something called “Matcher’s Keepers”.
The True Tool to Stop IKEA Fights
The game Matcher’s Keepers is addresses the issue of furniture disagreement directly.
It pairs couples (whether platonic or romantic) and has them choose furniture for a room. If they both select the same piece, then they get the real thing when they leave.
You can watch episode one above and they are eerily similar to videos from 1, 2 Switch.
But the company has also worked with a number of high profile clients including Axe. They helped establish a “Magic AR Mirror” in a barbershop to test out hairstyles.
But even beyond Matcher’s Keepers, there is another thing to help stop IKEA fights. That thing is GrokStyle–a tool that recommends similar furniture based on your pictures.
This is the “visual search” feature Valdsgaard referenced earlier and it is really Neat™.
One of its leaders, Kavita Bala, told TechCrunch why visual search is so important now.
“People take pictures of absolutely everything. If you want to remember someone’s phone number, sometimes you just take a picture of it. That’s the world we’re living in now.”
The results of this pending app merger and new tech implementation are yet unknown. But it certainly seems like these strategies could lead to fewer IKEA fights.