Ikea's new VR kitchen

The Ikea VR Pancake Kitchen allows the user to explore the brand's kitchen design solutions through the pancake-making process.

Ikea Canada is offering a chance for customers to have real-life experiences in its virtual kitchen. Running until May 21 in the Etobicoke store in Toronto, the test pilot program has been developed to help meet customers' needs and enhance the kitchen purchasing experience.

Rob Kelly, head of sales for Ikea Canada, said that the company is striving to explore the latest technologies available to retailers. Through this test, the chain hopes to learn if VR helps consumers to make more informed choices.

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Customers can pick from two experiences. The first, Ikea VR Pancake Kitchen, allows the user to explore the brand's kitchen design solutions through the pancake-making process. The second, the VR Kitchen Visualizer, allows customers to experience a basic version of their own finalized kitchen design in a virtual reality setting. Hopefully, the design of a dream kitchen gives consumers confidence in their purchases. The experience was developed for the HTC Vive headset, enabling the user to explore the room.

Why VR, and why now?

"Virtual reality is currently not widely used by people in their daily lives, but we know that it is developing fast and we believe it will play a major role in the future of our customers," Cesar Varela, kitchen and dining manager at Ikea Etobicoke, told FierceRetail. "Ikea aims to be innovative and wants to learn if this virtual reality experience will help customers visualize their dreams and make informed choices when buying a kitchen." 

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Verala said that VR can open new ways to improve both the shopping experience and people's lives at home. "We are still on an exploration journey regarding virtual reality and we will continue to invest in new possibilities within this technology in order to improve the experience for our visitors at Ikea," he said. 

The test will also be offered at locations in Belgium and Sweden.