Retail

IKEA ARKit App Lets Shoppers Virtually Try Before They Buy

Augmented reality (AR) is making itself right at home in the home furnishing retail space. IKEA, the Swedish home goods giant, has officially launched its new AR app, IKEA Place, to help customers virtually try before they buy.

With the app, customers can visualize how a sofa, armchair, footstool or coffee table will look in their homes before they go to the expense and trouble of buying it, bringing it home and assembling it. The IKEA Place AR app display scales the virtual IKEA home furnishing item to fit the space and even responds to ambient lighting for a true sense of how the piece will look in any given setting.

IKEA Place uses Apple’s ARKit technology and iOS 11 to create this techy shopping experience. Users snap a picture of the spot where they want to place the new furniture piece, browse the app for the desired type of item and insert it into the photo. From there, they can move the virtual item around to find the best positioning.

The ARKit app allows users to share and save their favorite home furnishing piece photos. When they’re ready to buy, it prices and reserves items so shoppers can purchase them from a local store. The app does not yet enable users to buy the items directly.

TechCrunch reports IKEA had a bit of a head start on developing this 3D imaging feature, which enabled the company to create and launch the app with a solid catalog of approximately 2,000 items in just seven weeks. IKEA was already using photo-realistic renders of products in catalogs rather than actual photographs.

The home goods giant also has a long-standing partnership with Apple and was an early adopter of innovations by the AR startup Metaio, which Apple acquired in 2015. These connections supported the speedy development and rollout of IKEA Place, TechCrunch said.

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