IKEA is adding an "augmented reality" feature to its mobile app that will let customers pluck selected items from its 2014 catalog and see how they will look in the customer's home, Mobile Commerce Daily reported on Monday (July 22).
Using a new version of the IKEA app and the printed catalog, customers will be able to find items that are accompanied by a special symbol—a plus sign inside an orange circle. The app will then allow the customer to capture a 3-D model of the merchandise and, using the phones camera, position the image in the customer's home. The phone's sensors are supposed to make necessary adjustments so the merchandise item is appropriately positioned. There are 90 catalog items that can be previewed using the augmented-reality feature.
The new versions of the IKEA app for iOS and Android phones and tablets are set to be available on Thursday (July 25), along with a YouTube video explaining how to use the augmented reality feature. The print catalog will be available in August.
This isn't the first time IKEA has dabbled in augmented-reality app features, and this "see what it looks like in your home" approach is hardly revolutionary. But as multichannel experiments go, it does qualify as more than a gimmick. Having almost 100 items available for previewing pulls it into the category of an actual experiment—both in how well the technology works and how interested customers are in this sort of preview.
IKEA has undoubtedly tested the technology, but the real testers will be customers—if they're actually interested, they'll let IKEA know about the glitches that are likely to show up in real customer homes (as opposed to in the lab or store). If this catches a customer's fancy, a few bits of weirdness won't torpedo that enthusiasm. If it doesn't spark the customer's interest, perfect placement every time won't be enough to save it. IKEA should know how well it has judged its mobile shoppers by Labor Day.
- See this Mobile Commerce Daily story
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