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IKEA entices potential consumers with augmented reality

IKEA will be enhancing the shopping experience with new augmented reality features in its mobile application for the 2014 catalog.

This August, IKEA will be rolling out its print version of the 2014 catalog that is themed “All Moments Count.” IKEA is also releasing a mobile component for the program on July 25 via an augmented reality app.

“This year the big difference is the augmented reality,” said Marty Marston, product public relations manager at IKEA U.S., Conshohocken, PA.

“When they open up their IKEA catalog, either on their printed version or the digital version, they’re going to see a plus sign that’s inside an orange circle, and on those particular products, and there are 90 in the catalog, [they] will have the ability to be able to be transposed, or through the magic of augmented reality will be able to be superimposed in a place within their home,” she said.

“So that particular IKEA product will be able to be in a sense photographed or lifted off the IKEA catalog page and superimposed in that location in their, let’s say it’s a sofa that they want to try out, in their own living room, to see how that sofa would look amongst the other furniture they have in their home.”

Make all moments count
The free app version of the catalog carries out the theme “All Moments Count” by allowing users to virtually place and view IKEA furniture in their homes via augmented reality.

The feature lets consumers explore a room in 360 or 180 degrees using the device sensors. Consumers will be able to view a room both vertically and horizontally.

On the same day that the app will be rolled out, IKEA will also add a demonstrational video to its YouTube channel that explains how the augmented reality feature works.

In addition to the augmented reality feature, the app also includes 3D models, image galleries and videos, as did past catalogs.

The 2014 version of IKEA’s app will be available for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. Users who had the 2013 version will be notified of the updated version.

Mobile experience
The 2013 app also included augmented reality features, but it only let users unlock content on their phone as opposed to virtually placing furniture in their home (see story).

Last year, 8.5 million users downloaded IKEA’s app.

In addition to the catalog app, IKEA has been engaged in mobile in many different ways.

In January, for example, the retailer ran a mobile campaign within Spin’s mobile site to promote its Life Improvement Project program (see story).

IKEA also has a shopping app that lets users check stock availability, create shopping lists and access a store map (see story).

According to Ms. Marston, mobile gives people the flexibility to shop how, when and where they choose, so IKEA aims to listen to what its consumers want and how they want to receive their information.

“One of the things that I find so exciting about this [2014 app] as a marketer is we know that the idea of buying furniture can be daunting for some people, and sometimes it’s a barrier for them being able to make a decision,” Ms. Marston said.

“Some people are afraid that they’re going to make the wrong color choice or the style might not look good with the other styles that they’re trying to mix and match it with or just not look good in that space, so they may not buy it, and that’s unfortunate because maybe it’s exactly what they need,” she said. “So we think that this augmented reality feature may be a solution for some people to really help them with that buying decision in the process.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York