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IKEA builds in-store shopping companion with redesigned app

IKEA Canada is extending the shopping experience with an in-store companion application to help consumers create lists, check off collected items and find product locations from their mobile devices.

The home furnishings retailer has introduced a redesigned version of its Store app to ensure that digitally savvy customers can bring along their tablet or mobile devices while shopping for inventory in its bricks-and-mortar locations. A growing number of brands are foraying into mobile shopping companion apps as time-strapped consumers demand an easy way to access in-store maps, item locations and stock availability.

“The new IKEA Store App will bring IKEA’s retail space alive,” said Tanya Bevington, corporate communications manager at IKEA Canada, Burlington, ON. “Customers can view current offers and extended information for all our product – i.e. scan an item to find different colors, sizes, stock information including location.

“With all this information readily available, it creates more efficient trips to the store and adds to the customer experience.”

Customer accessibility
The updated Store app highlights a sleek interface and a slew of new tools as well as existing features from the previous version. Shoppers will not have to worry about carrying around a pencil and paper or misplacing their lists in-store, as they can access everything via their tablet and mobile devices.

New scanning technology has also been implemented in a bid to tailor the experience to each user.

Consumers will be able to reach their shopping lists with the swipe of a finger, and can check off their collected items to streamline the experience and prevent confusion. They may also manage their quantities and keep their wish list organized in the app.

“The shopping list, which is at the core of our app now, has become a smart, responsive feature,” Ms. Bevington said. “Customers can sync a list of items created at home on a desktop computer into the new app simply by logging into your account.

“From there, the customer can add items to the list by scanning them in store or browsing,” she said. “The list provides information on stock price, and pickup location for your store.

“Once at the store, customers can scan the products as they find them in the store and they will show up as collected on the list. It will even indicate if you need to collect more than one box for a specific product.”

IKEA has also expanded on some of the app’s original features. Customers can browse the retailer’s full product range, check stock availability and item information and make shopping lists that display product locations in-store.

IKEA’s warehouse-like stores typically contain tens of thousands of inventory pieces, as well as several floors, making this feature a must-have for any first-time customer.

Additionally, shoppers will be able to access store maps. This tool may succeed in ramping up revenue in several areas.

Consumers may find themselves saving significant amounts of time with the product location feature, and may choose to eat a snack or meal at one of IKEA’s restaurants or bistros. They will also be likely to find everything on their shopping lists, making it unnecessary for shoppers to visit a competing retailer for any last-minute items.

Mobile-friendly atmosphere
IKEA has been expanding on its desire to be more accessible to consumers and tap smartphones as a manner of customizing the shopping experience. The retailer recognizes that mobile is now a go-to source for information, and realizes the potential of leveraging this channel while customers are on its premises.

An IKEA executive at the 2015 Integrated Marketing Week explained that the furniture retailer steers clear of jumping on board with a new platform for the sole reason that it could be the next big thing, but stressed that fearing new endeavors can be damaging as well (see story).

The brand offers complimentary Wi-Fi in all twelve of its Canadian stores for anyone who wishes to visit its mobile-optimized site.

The IKEA Store app is free to download for iOS and Android devices, and comes in French and English.

IKEA is also wading into the connected furniture sector.

This past March, the retailer announced it is bringing out a line of furniture with built-in wireless chargers to increase convenience for connected consumers who weary of looking for a charger and the attendant charging-cable mess (see story).

“At IKEA, the customer is at the center of everything we do; and as a result, we are working towards becoming more accessible to our customers,” Ms. Bevington said. “One step on IKEA’s accessibility journey is that IKEA developed the new IKEA Store app as an in-store companion for our customers.

“This customer-centric app will create more value for customers when visiting the store. It empowers them to have the information necessary information at their fingertips for a successful store visit.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York