Ikea is probably not the go-to brand for most consumers when they hear the word high-tech. Swedish meatballs? Sure. DIY furniture? Check. Divorces over DIY furniture? Ikea all the way.
But perhaps it will be soon, on the back of newly conceived pop-up kitchen focused retail locations that are all about bringing consumers the high-tech married to high design experience.
According to reports, this includes letting consumers visualize their new kitchens via virtual reality headset, or allowing them to add goods to their cart by tapping a shelf sensor (instead of physically lifting it).
The goal? Humble. Just to change how customers think and feel about cooking and their kitchens.
And of course, how they think and feel about shopping for their kitchens.
The new store, currently getting its temporary test drives in Canada in two week bursts in downtown Toronto, is about 50 products deep. But instead of cart or a basket, shoppers get a spoon — a wooden spoon with an RFID chip in it. If the customer sees a good they want, they tap their spoon on a shelf sensor.
When checkout time comes, the spoon gets another tap, this time one that opens up an order screen. The customer confirms their purchase (debit or credit only) and products are retrieved from a store room and delivered to the customer immediately.
“The Ikea Pop-up Experience is part of a 360-degree campaign which supports the Ikea global theme of ‘It Starts With The Food,’ which is built off the insight that food unites us,” says Lauren MacDonald, country deputy marketing manager, Ikea Canada.
The move comes as Ikea is finding ways to expand its digital and eCommerce initiatives in Canada, including opening five pickup points for Ikea.ca orders in areas where it doesn’t have stores nearby.
“The pickup and order points are allowing Ikea to expand quickly into markets that have been identified as having potential, resulting in Ikea becoming more accessible to Canadians,” says Stefan Sjöstrand, president of Ikea Canada. Ikea is also testing the pickup points for online orders in other countries.