Business transformation
How the IKEA Kreativ app evolves furniture sales
Business transformation

How the IKEA Kreativ app evolves furniture sales

Written by

Rod Reynolds


June 13, 2024

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The IKEA Kreativ app is the home décor giant’s latest advance in using immersive technology to enhance customer engagement. Allowing buyers to customize room templates with furniture pieces and even scan their own spaces to create editable 3D replicas marks a sea change in the customer experience and brings significant implications for how furniture is sold going forward.

What is the IKEA Kreativ app?

IKEA has long been a pioneer in using mixed reality technologies such as 3D and augmented reality (AR) to enhance their sales infrastructure. As far back as 2013, the Swedish furniture company added AR visualizations to its product catalog, enabling buyers to ‘see’ potential purchases in their own spaces, while the launch of the IKEA Place app in 2017 brought improved visualizations, increased shareability, and a more seamless experience.  

The IKEA Kreativ app brings together a host of technologies that are reshaping furniture sales

The IKEA Kreativ app, however, takes things to a whole new level. As well as 3D and AR, the app incorporates machine learning and AI technologies as part of a raft of new features and functionalities.  

There are two main design modes within the app:

Interactive Digital Showrooms

With this feature, customers can add, move, swap, and combine IKEA furniture pieces in a virtual space. Before getting started, users choose between an empty room as their canvas – with styles including ‘Bright spacious’ and ‘Cozy contemporary’ – or a fully designed template – with options including ‘Modern playful workspace’ and ‘Calm Scandinavian bedroom.’ In either option, shoppers can then experiment with different furniture pieces and placements, find the right combination and finish for their style, share designs with friends and family, and add items directly to their shopping cart.

Scan Your Room and Design It

This second feature enables customers to create an editable 3D replica of their own room and then customize it with IKEA products. Using a combination of LiDAR technology, AI, 3D, and AR, this mode first requires users to take a series of pictures of the desired space with their phone, which are then processed into a single wide-angle image – in essence creating a virtual showroom that is entirely bespoke to that user.

IKEA products that are added to the room – including furniture, accessories, rugs, and more – will scale accurately to the given space, show how they will look with the room’s real-world lighting, and interact realistically with existing objects. In addition, users can erase any physical items already in the room, such as furniture they want to replace or outdated accessories, to better enable a full design experience.

Personalization takes center stage

The ability to let customers personalize products in real time has long been one of the major benefits of 3D and AR technologies for furniture manufacturers and retailers, and one that consumers have increasingly come to demand when making purchases; 71% said they expect personalization options in a survey by McKinsey & Company.  

The IKEA Kreativ app pushes the boundaries in this area on a number of fronts. Enabling customers to experiment with and customize the content and design of a virtual room is a powerful tool to engage prospective purchasers and elevate product discovery. Offering the ability to do so in a 3D replica of their own room adds a further layer of personalization and sense of agency to the buying journey, while bringing additional clarity to how products will really look and fit – physically and stylistically – once in place. The benefits this brings for sellers of products such as furniture, which tends to be a more considered purchase with longer sales cycles, are self-evident.  

Example of an interactive showroom created by Enhance XR

Added to this, the IKEA Kreativ app features an AI-powered algorithm capable of learning and adapting to the users’ preferences, leveraging this data to offer tailored design suggestions and solutions. This active-learning process means that as the platform comes to understand more about each customer’s preferred styles, colors, and design choices, the degree of personalization is honed further – with the result that the user experience continues to be refined over time.  

Room designs are saved to the cloud, meaning users can share them with others at any time, access them on demand, and switch between devices as desired. This not only adds an additional element of convenience to the user experience but also facilitates the all-important shareability of personal designs.

A new infrastructure for furniture sales

The IKEA Kreativ app brings together a number of innovations that are reshaping the way furniture is sold across both online and offline channels. IPSOS research found that 77% of consumers want to use 3D and AR to interact with products before purchasing, while the importance of personalization has already been touched upon.  

The ability to explore products in 3D, view them from all angles, and visualize them in the buyer’s own space is fast becoming the norm in furniture selling. The increasing adoption of this functionality is not merely a pragmatic response to consumer demands, however. Data from Shopify shows that buyers who interact with a 3D product model are 27% more likely to place an order, while those who visualize an item in AR were 65% more likely to purchase. These are numbers that no furniture seller can ignore and highlight the risk companies that fail to offer 3D and AR experiences take of being left behind by the market.

Similarly, the IKEA Kreativ app harnesses the power of virtual showrooms, which enable sellers to showcase their full product range, freed from the space and cost constraints of a physical store, while enabling customers to customize and visualize products in real time, in a premium digital environment. IKEA Kreativ’s clever twist on the concept is in providing customers the opportunity to use their own rooms as the backdrop, bringing an additional utility factor to the process – an innovation that others will surely follow in time.

Finally, IKEA Kreativ shows how the integration of AI can be used to capture value from evolving buying habits – responding to the desire for personalization by making it ever more refined and accurate, while boosting user convenience and enriching the customer journey at the same time.  

The potent results of this confluence of innovations, described by the firm as “a fusing of real technology advancements with fun and magical user experiences,” clearly marks the direction of travel in the home décor sector. What IKEA has created is more than an app: it represents the new sales infrastructure that companies need to have in place in order to compete in the market.  

While for most, the development of a bespoke application is neither practical nor realistic, the fundamentals that power the IKEA Kreativ app – 3D product models, live configurations, augmented reality visualizations, and integrated AI capabilities – are fast becoming a must-have. The good news is that web-based, no-code solutions mean these technologies are viable for any budgetary level – levelling the playing field and helping bring this new infrastructure within the reach of all. By working with experienced technology partners such as Enhance XR, SMEs can bring immersive commerce functionality to their own operations and begin leveraging the same benefits as many of the world’s biggest brands.

To discuss how to bring the new sales infrastructure to your furniture business, talk to an expert

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