Ikea has launced an app with which customers can place products in their own house using augmented reality, then buy the items online. This means customers do not need to go to suburban physical stores as often, reducing the stress on environment and mobility.
After entering the measurements of their houses into the app and answering a few questions concerning taste and life situations, customers can visualise Ikea products in their homes using augmented reality. If they like what they see, they can order the products using the app. This takes the process a step further than the previous app, which did allow 2,000 items to be virtually placed in people's homes but did not offer the e-commerce option.
The new app will be tested in France and the Netherlands, but will be rolled out to Ikea's eight main markets (including China, Germany and the United States) before the end of the year. It is part of the chain's new business model, which turns away from suburban big boxes in favour of e-commerce and smaller city centre stores. The first of such stores opened earlier this month in Paris.
The new business model means the end of 7,500 traditional jobs because of "changing customer behaviour", but also heralds 11,500 new jobs in emerging markets. The Swedes also have high hopes for their chances in e-commerce, both in Europe and (through platforms) in China and the United States.