TECHNOLOGY

Report: Ikea expands mobile AR preview offering

BY Dan Berthiaume

Ikea will reportedly launch a new augmented reality (AR) app that lets customers do more than take a virtual look.

According to Reuters, Ikea’s new app will enable users to enter the dimensions of rooms in their homes, and then place realistic digital images of home furnishings into virtual representations of those rooms. Customers can directly purchase items after viewing them from the app.

Ikea plans to pilot the app first in France and the Netherlands before rolling it out to the rest of its eight biggest markets, including the U.S., by the end of the year. The Swedish home furnishings giant initially launched an AR-enabled mobile shopping app in 2017, but that app only lets users visualize how items would look in their homes. It does not offer any functionality to make mobile purchases of those items.

Ikea is not the first major retailer to provide consumers with a shoppable virtual preview of how items will look and go together in their personal space. A virtual reality (VR)-based tool called Amazon Showroom enables Amazon shoppers to place and modify realistic 3D images of home furnishings into a virtual living room. In addition to creating and saving different room designs, the technology also enables users to add products — or entire room designs — to their online shopping cart.

Meanwhile, Walmart provides a 3D virtual shopping tour service that enables customers to virtually browse a curated apartment, while Wayfair offers Wayfair Spaces, an interior design and room planning app that is powered by Magic Leap’s mixed reality-based spatial computing platform.

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