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IKEA blends ease-of-use with high functionality for mobile

The home-furnishings retailer has tripled the number of items in its 2015 catalog that can be viewed using augmented reality in shoppers’ homes, just one of several improvements it has made this year that cater to mobile-savvy consumers. The mobile app to accompany this edition of the catalog includes more than 60 pages of content that can be enhanced using mobile devices with links to photo galleries and video, in addition to new omnichannel list-creation functionality that allows users to download favorites to lists that can be married to geographic locations or transferred to digital shopping carts (read more).

“After the success of last year’s app, we really listened to our users’ feedback on things we could improve further on,” said Jens Ganslandt, project manager, Inter IKEA Systems B.V. “One of those areas was in sharing. The IKEA catalog holds a lot of great content, and we wanted to make sure users had an easy way to share their favorites with their friends. This led to improved ways of sharing through different social networks.

“The ‘wish list’ is also a new feature. This year, users can create a shopping list based on their catalog favorites, making it even easier for them to bring their inspiration from their phone to their home.”

In an interview with Mobile Marketer, Mr. Ganslandt discusses how IKEA used consumer feedback to create a better mobile experience for its customers.

What were some lessons IKEA learned from previous iterations of the IKEA catalog mobile app?
One of the biggest lessons we learned from last year is that users love augmented reality! Last year we incorporated augmented reality into the app, giving users ability to place 3D models of IKEA furniture in real scale in their homes. We learned that users felt like it helped them overcome a big style challenge: ‘How does this product fit in my home, or with what I already have?’ And all our users wanted more! So, this year we have tripled the number of products that can be placed with the help of augmented reality.

Clicking on the arrow in the upper right links to a video.

How has mobile use grown in terms of customer interaction with IKEA?
Globally, we have all seen a growing trend of mobile usage in many different areas of life over the last few years – including the use of mobile interaction with catalogs and brochures. This is the third consecutive year that we are offering extended content via a catalog app to help bring to life our solutions beyond the printed page, and we have received great feedback from our consumers so far!

How is mobile use divided between smartphones and tablets?
We can see a quite even usage when comparing the both. It fluctuates a bit, but they are very much aligned.

What did you see as the biggest challenges in adding this functionality to the app?
The biggest challenge as always with IKEA is that we want to make sure we provide features and solutions for many people. In developing the app, it was important that we maintained an ease-of-use that would allow people with various levels of comfort and experience with technology. Also, since IKEA is a global company, we spent a lot of time on subtitles and translations to make sure that people in different countries around the world were having the same positive experience with the app.

And what do you see as the opportunities for IKEA from the newest version of the app?
We are always looking for opportunities to improve the shopping experience for our consumer, and provide inspiration for the home. In this year’s app, consumers will have access to more than 60 pages/spreads of extended digitally extended content, including ‘Place in Your Room’, the augmented reality feature; videos offering quick do-it-yourself tips, home furnishings solutions, product films, and more; 360-degree views, which put the viewer in the middle of the solution, and image galleries.

What developers/designers did IKEA work with to create the app?
Regardless of what we’re working on, IKEA always makes sure to work with companies with shared values and ambition, who have the tools – in this case technology – to best support our mission. Typically, we work with multiple third-party companies to make sure we have the best possible solutions for our users and customers.

Final Take

Mark Hamstra is content director at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York