Will a new mobile app build IKEA’s furniture sales?
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.
- Exclusive: IKEA to revamp app as store strategy shifts – Reuters
- Ikea is launching a new, superpowered shopping app this year – Fast Company
- Will a radical transformation lift or sink IKEA? – RetailWire
- IKEA asks, will virtual inventory be key to the new urban showroom? – RetailWire
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?