IKEA, Wavemaker Team Up To Push Augmented Reality in Stores

December 21, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Shopping at IKEA can be a wonderful and eye-opening experience. Sure, there won’t be any sentient Allen wrenches wandering around insisting they need tungsten to live like on “The Simpsons,” but there’s still a lot to see. Now, with a new move between IKEA and Wavemaker, there will be even more to see if you bring a mobile device with you to at least some IKEA locations.

The concept got a live test run at a Dallas IKEA location, offering what amounts to a “virtual” IKEA experience directly beneath the actual IKEA experience. With the use of mobile devices, shoppers could play a game of “pillow toss” with a coffee table, or visit the inner workings of a bamboo lamp to spend some time with a panda. Around 300 people tried out the IKEA virtual concept, and spent about three to five minutes at each station, playing games and learning about the material for sale.

The move actually builds on an earlier release from IKEA, an augmented reality app that let shoppers get an idea of what an IKEA item would actually look like in their home.

IKEA North America’s media project manager Kelly Cronin Niszczak, commented “I think, for us, it was taking the next level and trying to educate consumers and [draw] potential guests to the store. It’s another layer of our amazing stories we have about product development and sustainability … I think for us it really helped to depend that knowledge base for our guests.”

Between easy access to information about products—just look at a thing to see more details about it, as long as you’re looking through an AR lens—to the ability to order a product in different colors (not to mention different sizes or in out-of-stock situations) for immediate shipping to the home, there’s lots of opportunity for VR and AR to succeed. IKEA’s approach even manages to incorporate games to make the store a destination, and destinations are the places most likely to survive the online shopping concept as they can’t be readily duplicated online.

This may be just the kind of thing we need to see more of, and incorporating mobile devices—not to mention mobile payments to cover the bills—could be the way that stores stay open.