In some ways, augmented and virtuality reality tools are old news when it comes to furniture. Wayfair's app lets buyers preview furniture in their homes before buying, and Lowe's and Pottery Barn have jumped on the bandwagon as well.
But IKEA's new app, IKEA Place, ups the augmented reality ante, and its capabilities show just how quickly technology and consumer needs are evolving.
IKEA Place uses the latest technology from Apple's iOS 11 update. The app will scan the room using the phone's camera and let users place furniture from the IKEA catalog in the room. Right now, IKEA's most popular pieces are available, but more will be added. What's different about this app is the depth and reality. Furniture can be repositioned, moved closer and moved farther, and users can also move around the scene to get a better angle.
To get IKEA Place, download the app from your iPhone's app store. This will require the Apple iOS 11 update to use, so go to your Settings and make sure your phone is up to date. At the moment, this app is only available on the iPhone.
So how good is this app? I tested out the app and proceeded to decorate the atrium inside the Lighting & Decor office so you don't have to wonder. Check out the photos to see what I found.
Why does this matter?
We've been following augmented and virtual reality developments closely this year. As more consumers come to expect this level of ease from furniture sellers, retailers should be taking copious notes.
IKEA may be the first to have an app this high tech, but it won't be that way for long. It's only a matter of time before Lowe's, Pottery Barn and Wayfair catch up. While Wayfair may be synonymous with fast furniture, the online furniture store sells brands such as Arteriors Home, Surya, Moe's Home Collection and Hinkley Lighting — hardly fast furniture.
It also sets a precedent among young buyers. For Millennials and Gen Z buyers, IKEA is often their first introduction to buying furniture, usually when they go off to college or rent their first apartment. If IKEA makes it so easy to shop for furniture when you're already busy with classes, why go elsewhere and make it harder when you have a job and even less time?
And really, playing with this app was a lot of fun. I wanted to keep playing with the different types of furniture, and I might have redecorated the whole atrium if I had the time. The bottom line is that this is a cool user experience, and if I didn't have a lot of time to shop for furniture, I would happily spend 10 minutes designing a room with IKEA Place and then order what I wanted.
But don't take my word for it. Download IKEA Place and see for yourself. Share your thoughts with us in the comment!