IKEA aims to eliminate buyer's remorse with nifty augmented reality app
Although the garden gnome-hating retailer first introduced augmented reality in its 2013 catalog, this year’s catalog is the first to enable shoppers to preview furniture in their own home from their own home using a smartphone or tablet. All that’s missing is $1 froyo, the smell of fear, and the tormented shrieks of children trapped within the primary-colored confines of Småland.
The way it works is this: Customers flip through the print catalog, and when they come across a plus symbol on a page, they hover their phone or tablet over it until a screen pops up asking them to scan the images on the page. At that point users will see the bonus features, which could be a 360-degree view of a room, videos, additional product information, or the option to place a piece of furniture in their room.There are only around 100 products available for the 3-D augmented reality option, which in the grand scheme of a 300-plus page catalog doesn’t amount to much. But the furniture that was chosen — generally larger centerpieces like sofas and chairs — make a lot of sense as the primary options. When customers find the piece they’d like to test out, they place the physical catalog in the spot where they envision their new love seat, and the device’s camera uses the book as both an anchor and a way to gauge the correct scale for the products shown on screen.
When our designers and interiors experts started to think about how we could use augmented reality to help our customers, we felt that we could solve some of the very real problems they face.Our customers want to be able to test out whether the products they've been inspired by in our catalogue will work in their own homes — particularly when it comes to larger pieces of furniture. Offering a way of using mobile technology to enable to test products means the technology has a practical purpose and really helps customers visualise the way their homes could look. It means they can bring the Ikea catalogue into their own homes from the comfort of the very sofa they’re planning to replace.
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