Ikea has never been afraid to try new things and has certainly been brave in incorporating digital technology into its bricks and mortar stores.
This work for Ikea because it focuses on good design – design that people can use easily, that fits with their behaviour, and that doesn’t need lots of complicated words or pictures to explain itself.
In its smaller inner-city stores, the retailer is using in store media such as stop motion videos to hook customers into the idea building their own sofa, for example, before they seamlessly move them onto engaging with a touchscreen to configure their own modular sofa to fit their home. They can try out many different options by playing with the digital touchscreen for much longer than they would feasibly have spent reading a catalogue picturing a million different options.
Picturing the product
Ikea stores still include lots of rooms laid out to inspire, but these are partnered with virtual reality software to help people bring their own kitchen plans to life or touchscreens to order a delivery. Everything has been designed to bring an element of fun to what could otherwise feel like a stressful experience if you are not a trained kitchen designer or furniture expert.
Feeling the experience
The music played in Ikea stores and conveniently-located coffee machines are other types of technology that the retailer is using to make its customers comfortable and give them the time to make the right decisions. Ikea, just like in store media experts such as, understands how the right music can reassure and increase sales
Customers don’t necessarily purchase in store; instead, when they go home and log onto the Ikea website or apps, they experience the same ease of use they felt in the Ikea ‘showroom’. According to Retail Focus, showrooms such as this may be the next era in retail.
Customers want the shopping experience, whether online or in store, to be convenient. They want to touch and feel products before they invest; in addition, they want to be able to create something customised for them. Technology plays a big part in enabling this. Ikea is leading the way with its technological advertising strategies, focusing on multichannel experiences that enable flexible shopping.