This week, the Swedish home furnishings retailer introduced a new app for the U.S. market. The app allows customers access to their digital Ikea Family card to pay for purchases and request either home delivery or curbside pickup, while also providing product recommendations for inspiration.
“At Ikea, we are on a journey to transform the way we meet our customers, and the Ikea app is an important step we’ve taken to become more accessible and convenient to the many,” said Umesh Sripad, Ikea U.S. chief digital officer, in a statement.
Sripad told Adweek that Ikea’s latest mobile offering has complete end-to-end shopping capability, a shift from its previous approach to mobile shopping. The new app actually combines the features of separate apps Ikea previously offered: one for store locations, one for making payments, and one to search for products.
“We decided we don’t need to be fragmented and we can put all these features into one app,” Sripad said.
The new app also includes never-before-offered features, such as the ability to return products and to control one’s private data.
Giving users control of their information fulfills a promise Ikea made nearly a year ago, letting customers decide whether the retailer can use information such as their browsing history and previous purchases. “We are giving the power back to the customers,” he said.
While the app was in development prior to the pandemic, its rollout in the U.S. was accelerated due to Covid-19, according to Sripad. It originally launched in July 2019 in Sweden, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Canada and Japan, and thus far has been downloaded by 4.9 million users.
“Click-and-brick has become more and more normal as consumers switch between the physical and mobile environments,” he pointed out.
The new app is not only a solution for at-home shoppers, allowing users to decide purchases while physically present in the room they wish to furnish, but a companion device for the store as well, Sripad said. The brick-and-mortar experience is undergoing its own changes as Ikea evolves its store environment to be more compatible with the new app, but those still in the works.
An emerging trend in 2021 for retailers, after accelerating their digital offerings last year due to Covid-19, will likely be to revamp their physical spaces to complement the online or mobile experience, a change that’s already underway at Walmart.
Initially, Ikea plans to market the app to in-store customers and visitors to its mobile website. The app was designed and developed in collaboration with Work & Co, Ikea’s digital product partner, and is available in the app stores for both iPhone iOS and Android.
The app is just the latest significant investment Ikea U.S. has made to transform its business. It’s building smaller-format stores in city centers, which are now open in Manhattan and Queens in New York City, as well as lower priced shipping and delivery options, and click-and-collect and TaskRabbit assembly services.