• Mary Burritt

Conversion rates not the goal of Ikea's AR app for iOS

The following is a Q&A with Michael Valdsgaard, leader, digital transformation at Inter Ikea systems.

FT:  What customer behaviors is the Ikea Place iPhone app designed to facilitate?

MV: Built on Apple’s ARKit, Ikea Place makes it easier to make buying decisions in your own place, to get inspired and try many different products, styles and colors in real life settings with a swipe of your finger. Many people are uncertain about changing their home furnishings because they’re afraid of making the wrong decision. Or worse, they return a piece they loved in a store because it simply doesn’t fit in their space. IKEA Place will give them the confidence that they’re making the right choice.

FT: How many downloads of the app is Ikea prepared for?

MV: It’s too early to talk about the downloads but the app will be available on the Apple App Store at the same time as the release of the new iOS 11 update.
(Editor’s note: Apple announced Tuesday that iOS 11 will be released Sept. 19.)

FT: How does Ikea plan to track conversion rates and time spent on the website with Ikea Place vs. without it?

MV: Our priority with the app is to inspire people to create a better everyday life through great home design. The focus is to put a tool in our customers’ hands which they can play around with to improve their home, and be confident in their decision when purchasing furnishings. Perhaps in time we might look into conversion rates, but that is not our goal - inspiration is.

FT: What is the total number of SKUs available in 3D, and when will all Ikea products be viewable via the app?

MV: More than 2,000 of our key products will be available in the app at launch, and in the future, the app will play a key role in the launch of new product lines. The products in the first release will focus on larger furniture products for the living room: all sofas, armchairs, footstools, coffee tables and top-selling storage solutions that can be placed on the floor. All of these products will be available in 3D.

The ambition will be to have all Ikea products available in the app. We plan to do this over the coming months.

FT: Does Ikea manage its own 3D content?

MV: We manage all content internally.

FT: Is there a second iteration of Ikea Place already in the works?

MV: We aim to continuously add new functionality and inventory over the coming months.

FT: How does Ikea see shopper behavior evolving?

MV: Since the beginning, Ikea has been committed to offering people access to affordable, stylish design. We believe good design combines form, function, quality and sustainability at a low price – or what we call “democratic design.”

Ikea Place helps us continue that commitment in new ways. The online experience partly addresses accessibility, but it still struggles to close the gap completely. Ikea Place closes the gap between imagination and reality to let everyone, everywhere, confidently experience how good design transforms their everyday lives.

FT: When will Ikea Place be available on Androids?

MV: Working with Apple’s ARKit has given Ikea an amazing opportunity to be part of the world’s biggest AR platform. We will continue to develop with Apple as well as others to make Ikea Place accessible to as many people as possible.

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