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IKEA plunges further into mobile with shopping companion app

The IKEA iPhone app is available for free download from Apple’s App Store. The app points to the growing need from retailers to enhance the in-store shopping experience with mobile features such as in-store mapping and inventory.

“There are great use cases to support a limited or no-commerce experience for a bricks-and-mortar retailer,” said Blake Sirach, vice president of design at Willow Tree Apps, Charlottesville, VA.

“For example, shoppers that like to plan prior to visiting a retail location can use an app like this to initiate dialogue with salespeople,” he said.

“A  shopper can simply create a list of items prior to visiting, and a salesperson can walk them through each item, ideally increasing sales conversions as a result of the mobile planning process.”

Mr. Sirach is not associated with IKEA. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

IKEA did not respond to press inquiries.

Shop on mobile
The primary goal behind the IKEA iPhone app is to help inspire consumers with the company’s products while they are in-store.

Since IKEA does not offer mobile commerce, all content is linked back to the closest store.

Many of the app’s features mirror the experience on IKEA’s mobile site. The differentiator though is location with information on store-specific inventory, events and offers.

The homepage of the app features current IKEA promotions. Consumers can then click-through to see which of the products are available at their local stores.

Additionally, consumers can sort products by category or by typing in a keyword into a search bar that stretches across the top of the screen. Items can be sorted by name, price or date.

Basic product information and photos are available for each item.

Products can then be added to shopping lists that are linked to in-store inventory.

Additionally, consumers can view a map of each store’s layout to make it easier to find products in-store.

Mobile past
IKEA has been active in mobile for quite some time.

In addition to this new iPhone app, the company also launched a pilot augmented reality app last year in three markets. The iPhone and Android app works with IKEA’s print catalog to bring pages to life (see story).

Then earlier this year, IKEA rolled out a mobile advertising campaign to support its Life Improvement Project program. The mobile ad unit used interactive features such as swiping to inspire users with ideas on how to liven up their homes (see story).

Consumers nowadays shop for everything from their mobile devices, meaning that IKEA could be missing out on a big opportunity by not including mobile commerce.

“The data certainly suggests shoppers have become increasingly comfortable with shopping from their mobile devices,” Mr. Sirach said.

“For example, reported $1 million in sales revenue on Black Friday 2012, 30 percent of which came from their iPhone experience alone,” he said.

“In terms of bricks-and-mortar retailer apps, in-store conversions can be up to 21 percent higher for shoppers who use that retailer’s mobile app.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York