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IKEA tests in-store mobile checkout, building multichannel innovation

NEW YORK – An IKEA executive at the Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2016 revealed that the retailer is testing a mobile program that generates QR codes for the products in customers’ carts to speed up checkout, part of an ongoing focus on in-store technology that makes shoppers’ lives easier.

During the session, IKEA: The Path to Omnichannel: Why Digital Mobile Solutions are Important for Brands and Retailers, the executive emphasized how important it is to innovate in-store activations through mobile, as the furniture retailer’s bricks-and-mortar presence is essential but digital is changing customer behavior. IKEA leverages mobile to alleviate customer pain points rather than simply create something “cool,” and through its trial checkout feature, shoppers are able to check out in a much more convenient manner.

“When you think about the whole of the mcommerce piece, how you are combining the online experience and how people act in the store, and you start providing services that make sense, giving the customer the power to decide what to do and where to take the next step is what we are looking at,” said Victor Bayata, global head mobile solutions at IKEA. “What we need to do, and this is again the formula that everyone tries and tests, is that we need to understand our customers’ needs and wants,” he said.

“We definitely need to understand how we are building our capabilities.”

The Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2016 was organized by Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer.

Mobile in-store activations
In France, IKEA is testing a mobile application feature with which shoppers can scan each product when they place them in their shopping cart. At checkout, the app will generate a QR code that users can scan once and congregates all the products and prices for users to purchase.

The experience eliminates the need for users to scan multiple items at checkout, a factor highly beneficial to IKEA customers, as furniture is commonly large, bulky and difficult to scan. Users will only have to scan the QR code once, pay and then leave.

For IKEA, in-store activations are key because as consumers’ behavior changes with the evolution of digital, many big box retailers are shutting down bricks-and-mortar locations to focus on digital efforts. But this is not a possibility for IKEA, as furniture requires a hefty bricks-and-mortar presence, so to continue appealing to consumers, it is incorporating mobile in stores.

To make effective mobile activations, IKEA studies the consumer journey in and out of its stores, and attempts to develop helpful features that alleviate pain points. The executive stressed how important it is to create activations that help the consumer and are not just there to provide something flashy and cool.

Branded experiences
It is also important for IKEA to mix together a strategy that rewards customers and creates a seamless experience but in its own branded way. IKEA wants to make these activations its own.

“For us, our ambition overall is to establish a great customer experience that can allow us to position our brand and engage with our customers, and definitely increase visitation to have people buy more,” Mr. Bayata said.

“In order to complete that engagement we understand that we need to increase our position because knowing and addressing people personally needs to be combined with how people want to be engaged,” he said. “When people buy our products or services, they want to be rewarded and want to feel that you are there.”