Ikea: strategy based primarily on augmented reality

IKEA, the iconic Swedish company, stopped manufacturing its paper catalogues on 7 December 2020 after 70 years of production. It was distributed to more than 200 million people in 2016, which is more than the Bible and the Koran. The catalogue had become an iconic product for everyone, but IKEA has seen consumer behaviour change, especially with the confinements that people have experienced. For example, in 2020, the number of sales from their website increased by 45% for 4 billion visitors. However, these changes had already been anticipated by IKEA and the company was already investing heavily in digital. The Swedish brand has launched several free mobile applications dedicated to consumers with the latest technology such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

The abandonment of catalogue production is therefore not a sign of weakness but a conversion to digital, admittedly brutal, but well thought out. Several applications are already available and some are revolutionising the world of online sales.


The IKEA Place app: the immersive catalogue

The app, launched in 2017 on IOS, is free and is in a way IKEA's new smart catalogue. Using augmented reality and artificial intelligence, the app allows you to scan an entire room to remove objects and replace them with IKEA products with a fine level of detail.

In the early days, the company focused on the most bulky and popular products to attract the largest number of users, but with the removal of their catalogue, virtually all products will be available on their app.

IKEA Place is made up of many features such as communication with a chatbot, adding favourite products, screen or video capture to share one's desires but also visual search. This last feature is a key element of the application as it allows the application to identify a piece of furniture in a room and suggest items resembling it in the catalogue.

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The Everyday Experiments platform: a way to rethink your home

Launched in June 2017, Everyday Experiments is equipped with state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality and spatial intelligence. It offers users a better understanding and ownership of the usable space in their home.

And it comes at the right time! During the first lockdown, most people spent almost two months in their homes. Consumers have therefore understood the need for a pleasant and practical home, so they want to furnish their homes in a way that makes them feel good.

To sum up, the IKEA platform offers several features that allow you to measure and rediscover each room in your home in a simple way. For example, there is "Extreme Measures" which detects the dimensions and volume of a room in an aesthetically pleasing way as the platform inserts a very cool looking inflatable elephant into the room and gives you the exact dimensions. Another feature available is "Light Filters" which allows you to view a room with different light levels. This allows you to be guided in choosing the ideal lamp and lighting for a room.

Augmented reality: an important lever for marketing

IKEA has not stopped at simply using augmented reality to sell its products. It also offers an application dedicated to children that transforms furniture into living creatures to stimulate the imagination of little ones. The Swedish company has understood that augmented reality will be everywhere and that it will revolutionise online shopping. It did not want to miss this opportunity and today we can say that it has appropriated augmented reality.