IKEA  has launched Escape Room on the Snapchat app

Thanks to amazing technology, especially in regard to the use of mobile phones, more and more people are turning to the online shopping experience as opposed to actually physically going to the shops. Not only is this true with every day needs and necessities, but also for such items as furniture. Unfortunately, one of the major constraints about buying furniture is that you never quite know how it fits and how it looks in your own environment. That is, until you get it home. For example, the items photographed for the IKEA catalogue look wonderful in their picture-perfect photo room sets. But transposing them into your own living space can be difficult for many people to imagine. 

To help bridge this gap between the fantasy of purchase and the reality of unpacking it at home, the company has decided to produce an app. This is called the IKEA AR app and it allows retailers like IKEA to better engage with their customers. 

Introducing IKEA  AR

A few years ago, the ideas of augmented reality were really just within the domain of computer games. But today’s new technology is considered the way forward for all sorts of businesses whether they are involved in retail, advertising, sports or healthcare. So it's not surprising that one of the biggest homegoods companies in the world, IKEA, should start looking at AR in order to leverage the benefits it can bring to the company's customers. 

What is IKEA AR?

In the same way that when playing Pokémon Go, the characters would appear in a real-world situation when viewed via your phone, it's the same story with IKEA's AR app. Presently you're able to download around 2,000 products from the IKEA store. After firing up your phone's camera, you can decide where you wish to place an item utilising AR so that you can see whether it fits in the respective place. Not only can you clearly see the dimensions in real time, but also check how it fits in with the ambiance of the room. By allowing customers to get a 3D view of their products as well as how they might fit, AR is proving itself to be an essential item for this type of retailer.

What's great is that the customer no longer needs to be present in this physical store. From just sitting comfortably on the couch at home, they're able to get the real feel of the objects on sale. Along with how they can be integrated into that person's environment. Before this AR app came along, many customers would only have their imagination and memory to fall back on to see what would be the best fit in the home. Unfortunately for a retailer, this leads to a lack of confidence, and a certain level of uncertainty and anxiety. This translates into lesser sales. Now with this latest AR tool, all the customers can be much more certain about their choices. 

What's interesting about the development of IKEA's AR app is that, whilst designing it, the company almost accidentally came across the idea of having an escape room using their own store goods via Snapchat. 

Escape Room app of IKEA

IKEA's Escape Room AR app is designed to engage customers more on a visual level. The model of the game, which is called “Escape The Clutter” is superimposed on a real space such as your living room or bedroom, in order to get a real-life feel. Essentially, a room is stuffed with furniture and it's up to the user to organise it. To get this product off the ground IKEA has turned to the advertising company Ogilvy. The idea being that once a user has completed the game they can then upload the results to their Snapchat story feature. The reason that IKEA chose Snapchat in the first place for its AR app game is that Snapchat already offers an augmented reality filter app. 

As Paul Anderson, IKEA’s U.S interior design leader says “One of the challenges during this COVID-19 time is that we really want to create different experiences to continue to engage our customers with our home furnishing solutions in new ways - especially virtually. For people who are a little apprehensive of visiting our stores during this time, it’s about trying to really meet people where they’re at.”

As for the future, IKEA is already looking into many possibilities with regards the use of augmented reality technology. They believe that there's lots of room for both innovation and improvement. Paul Anderson further added, “AR is actually becoming a tool that a lot of retailers are using in the home furnishing sphere to allow consumers to visualize products in their own home. So we are working and looking at other tools that we can use in the future here.”

What is in the IKEA AR Escape Room Game

Just as the psychologist Jordan Peterson recommends, if we want to improve our lives then we should organise the space in which we live. In other words, “ tidy your room!” Not surprisingly, those organized designers at IKEA feel the same way. The escape room game they have developed provides you with a number of escape rooms, with all of them locked.  With the help of clues you'll need to find the keys. The foundation of the game is about cleaning and tidying up. In fact, only once you've reached a top level of IKEA organisational competence, then you're able to escape the room. And by the way, just like any other escape room, there's a clock ticking down the time.