Will a new mobile app build IKEA’s furniture sales?

Discussion
Source: IKEA/Google Play
Jun 04, 2019
Matthew Stern

IKEA announced the launch of a new mobile app which, unlike previous incarnations, will allow customers to buy directly from the retailer, according to Reuters. The new app will be available in eight of IKEA’s biggest markets worldwide, including the U.S., by the end of the year.

Currently IKEA’s mobile strategy is broken out into a few different offerings, as Fast Company detailed. Mobile customers can see IKEA’s full catalog through one app, scan barcodes on products while in-store with another app and get an augmented reality-based view of how a piece of furniture looks in a room with a third. At present, however, users of these apps cannot complete a purchase via mobile. The new app with the ability to purchase products is rolling together many of the features of the existing apps, including the AR preview.

The introduction of the new app comes as the retailer, known for its massive, labyrinthine big box store experience, is changing to meet the needs of an urban consumer base that is accustomed to convenient e-commerce and less likely to drive.

Last year, IKEA announced numerous enhancements along these lines. The chain began increasing the number of its new small, urban concept stores, which are about a quarter of the size of a traditional IKEA. Management also began expanding the company’s fulfillment infrastructure to allow for more convenient pickup and delivery in the U.S.

The chain has also begun launching other experiments that, were they to catch on, would move the store into previously unexplored territory.

For instance, earlier this year IKEA announced a pilot of a furniture rental program. Beginning in Switzerland, the program allows customers to lease, return and replace furniture, which is then refurbished and resold by IKEA.

In 2018, the chain demoed an experimental small store concept that carries no inventory, but allows visitors full access to a virtual version of the catalog via digital walls that display product information. There are, however, no current plans to create a live version of the concept.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How important is it for IKEA to enable customers to place orders using its mobile app? Is IKEA now missing any components needed to serve today’s U.S.-based customers?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"As IKEA builds out its innovation ecosystem, mobile shopping is a natural add-on and it can't look like a buzz kill when compared to IKEA's other offerings."
"Consolidating the existing systems into one had to happen, so why not build a platform for the future?"
"A one-stop shop app is the way to go and incorporating ordering eliminates the need to leave the app and open a mobile browser to shop and buy IKEA products."

Join the Discussion!

6 Comments on "Will a new mobile app build IKEA’s furniture sales?"


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Carol Spieckerman
BrainTrust

IKEA’s mobile shopping capability is quite important, but not necessarily because it will increase sales directly. As IKEA builds out its innovation ecosystem, mobile shopping is a natural add-on and it can’t look like a buzz kill when compared to IKEA’s other offerings. All of this is very on-brand for IKEA as it reinforces the retailer’s impressive balancing act between showing product possibilities and building trust that its products will always deliver. No doubt many competitors are watching as IKEA shows how its done.

Charles Dimov
BrainTrust

It’s smart to create a mobile optimized experience. Only 8 percent of U.S. retailers have a mobile app or m-commerce optimized site (20 percent have responsive sites – good but not ideal). So IKEA getting a mobile app is a great step forward. The demographic for IKEA is youthful and innovative. Mobile apps fit that description perfectly. However, they really need to get the purchasing part fixed, fast. Customers want to buy and put in an order on the app. Then let them choose the fulfillment (delivery, in-store pickup …).

David Weinand
BrainTrust

The three-app experience is not something today’s customers would put up with for long, so consolidation into one app had to happen. Being able to purchase in the app may help with smaller ticket items. I don’t see it as panacea to help them expand sales too much.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

I think it is critical, and will become even more so over time. It isn’t so much that people are going to furnish their homes with IKEA merchandise sight unseen, but this prepares IKEA for a future where that very well may happen. Consolidating the existing systems into one had to happen, so why not build a platform for the future? As to what they are missing there is always the ability to design a social component and/or expert advice in terms of home furnishings, decor, budget, etc. But before you can do any of that, you have to have a solid, easy-to-access foundation.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

I’m of two minds. First, it is smart for IKEA to fix the busted mobile world they’ve created for themselves. But second, it’s not clear to me that it matters much overall.

Another tactical step forward — but only tactical. Mobile customers had always been able to order via the IKEA website on their mobile device.

David Naumann
BrainTrust
David Naumann
Vice President, Retail Marketing, enVista
1 month 17 days ago

I was surprised to learn that IKEA had three separate apps and they are just now adding mobile ordering capabilities. With more consumers browsing on their phones that computers it is essential for retailers to think “mobile first.” Consolidating the apps into one app is essential, as consumers have only so much tolerance and space for apps on their phones. They are getting app fatigue.

A one-stop shop app is the way to go and incorporating ordering eliminates the need to leave the app and open a mobile browser to shop and buy IKEA products.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"As IKEA builds out its innovation ecosystem, mobile shopping is a natural add-on and it can't look like a buzz kill when compared to IKEA's other offerings."
"Consolidating the existing systems into one had to happen, so why not build a platform for the future?"
"A one-stop shop app is the way to go and incorporating ordering eliminates the need to leave the app and open a mobile browser to shop and buy IKEA products."

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