Ikea wants customers to be able to browse its catalog, virtually decorate their homes and plan store visits from one app rather than three separate ones as they do now.
The decision comes after the success of the Ikea Place app, which uses augmented reality to show people what furniture will look like in their homes, pushed the retailer to review its apps.
Since launching on Apple devices last September, the app has been downloaded over 2 million times, and around 1 million people have repeatedly used it, said Michael Valdsgaard, leader of digital transformation at Inter Ikea, the holding company for Ikea.
Despite the app’s positive reception, Valdsgaard won’t consolidate all Ikea’s apps until he’s had time to compare the recently launched Android version of Ikea Place to the iOS original. Ikea Place had more than 370,000 monthly active users worldwide on iPhones in February, according to mobile app data company App Annie. From the app’s launch in September 2017 through the end of February, its top five markets by iOS downloads were the U.S., Germany, France, the U.K. and Russia, per App Annie.
“In the latter half of 2018, we’re going to figure out where the things [in our different apps] fit together and then move them over [into one],” said Valdsgaard. “They all have specific use cases, so we have to figure out how those different capabilities can fit together.”
The potential of having one Ikea app is part of Valdsgaard’s rationale for not pushing direct sales from its AR app. Valdsgaard also doesn’t want to flood Ikea Place with too many features before he knows what customers want. In order to secure more time to see how people use the app, he told other executives he would decide whether to add the capability to buy from it in the summer. “We won’t make a business case for the app until we’ve explored what AR could really mean for Ikea,” Valdsgaard said.
A visual search feature launched on Ikea Place earlier this month, and Valdsgaard thinks it could become a core part of the retailer’s app strategy.
“The problem [with working on the platforms] is the technology,” Valdsgaard said. “We want to give you a true representation in size, color and dimensions, which is complicated.”
Ikea is also working with agency 72andSunny to build a long-term proposition for AR.