Ikea developing a new virtual reality (VR) app which will allow users to virtually experience whole rooms fitted out with its products in what it describes as a “completely new experience”.
According to Reuters, the Swedish furniture giant is currently working on the new app with a view to rolling it out by the end of the year across its eight largest markets, starting with France and the Netherlands.
Users can input the dimensions of rooms in their home into the app, then select items from Ikea’s entire catalogue based on taste and life stages.
By pointing their smartphone at a particular item of furniture, the app will allow shoppers to see all the different colours and textures the item is available in, as well as seeing the item in the context of a room or alongside similar products in the same range.
Once they have created the room they want virtually, they can then order the items directly from the app to be delivered or collected.
This is not the brand’s first foray into the technology, having launched an augmented reality (AR) app back in 2017.
However, its AR app only allowed shoppers to visualise 2000 singular items in the context of their existing homes and did not allow shoppers to buy from it directly.
“The app is combined with the store experience, with the online experience,” Ikea’s chief digital office Barbara Martin Coppola told Reuters.
“People who go to the stores might want to access the full range of IKEA, and that is when digital innovations come in handy,” Coppola added at World Retail Congress earlier this month.
This reflects the retailer’s expansion into ecommerce and shift towards smaller format more digitally focused stores, having opened dedicated design studios in its home capital of Stockholm and London.