Last week as Apple announced the launch of its upcoming devices, Ikea announced it would be launching Ikea Place—an app for the new iOS 11 operating system and built on Apple’s ARKit technology that uses augmented reality to help customers truly visualize how a piece of Ikea furniture will look in their apartments, offices and homes.
The app hits iPhones everywhere today, but Ikea shared a bit more about building and marketing the app with Adweek ahead of the launch.
“It’s really going to be a good use case for the consumers to have in their hands, so we put a lot of effort into it, we put quite a big team together to get it off the ground,” Michael Valdsgaard, leader of digital transformation at Inter Ikea Systems, said. “Then we realized in the first few weeks how big this is going to be, so we partnered with a big professional agency to get this marketed in the right way and in the way that it deserves.”
Ikea obviously worked with a lot of different partners to bring the AR app to life including innovation lab Space10, media agency Assembly and Allison+Partners for PR (among others), but the brand also partnered up with 72andSunny in Amsterdam to help market the app to the world. The agency developed the strategy, communications planning and creative assets for the launch and will continue partnering with Ikea as more updates and fixes come about.
Ikea has long been experimenting with technology, but with the latest news of its augmented reality app the brand is truly thinking about how it can transform the future of retail. “We had been waiting for something like [Apple ARKit] for some time,” Valdsgaard said.
The hope is that Ikea can now inspire customers in new ways and make their lives so much easier. Now instead of going to the store maybe two or three times to look at a couch, feel it, sit on it, envision it within your own home, the customer might only have to make one trip to the store. The app now allows shoppers to actually see the product, in all its assembled glory, as it would really appear in your home. You can see what it looks like in different rooms, against a different wall, etc.
“This is just one of those magical moments where everything comes together,” Valdsgaard said. “You have technology that is maturing, a platform that Apple provides with the software and we have a killer use case, which is placing furniture. It’s like things you were never capable of doing before [are] all of a sudden possible.”
72andSunny Amsterdam met with some of the Ikea team a few months ago for an introductory meeting. Then roughly 10 weeks ago, Ikea reached out to the agency to share Ikea Place with the world.
“We came onto the project at a point when they had discussions with Apple already about the potential of this thing, but it was really vague at that point as to how it was going to finish and whether it was going to be finished,” Simon Summerscales, director of communications strategy at 72andSunny Amsterdam, said. “Our role has been really the strategic value of the whole thing for the business, and frankly that’s not a job done, that’s something that we are working out over time.”
“We’ve been helping [Ikea] really shape the value and importance of the app for the business, where it fits strategically for Ikea and therefore what the potential might be for the future and as I say it’s something we are still working on,” he added.
One of the main priorities for 72andSunny, as it was working on marketing the app, was helping make the technology seem more human. AR itself, according to Summerscales, feels like a really human technology so the agency played off of that with its social and digital work.
Added Summerscales: “I think for Ikea it’s an opportunity to, in a modern world, take a brick and mortar store and put it into a hugely technological environment but in an way that is very Ikea. We’re excited to help transform Ikea from a traditional world into a technological world.”
Ikea Place is available on iOS 11 beginning today.