Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer, is not one to rest on its laurels. The Swedish giant is constantly trying new things—from rethinking coliving to launching pop-up restaurants. Earlier this year, Ikea launched an AR app that lets users pick and place virtual furniture in their own space. Their latest digital adventure? A foray into VR, if only as a marketing ploy for now.
At a recent store opening in a Dallas suburb, Ikea got nearly 300 visitors to put on HTC Vive headsets and explore an “Ikea world” where they could play short games like “toss the virtual pillow into a real coffee table” or “visit some pandas inside of a ceiling lamp” and learn about sustainability and design. Unlike the company’s AR furniture app, this digital experience feels rather gratuitous and, based on videos, seems to fall short of magical.
“I think for us, it was taking the next level and trying to educate consumers and [draw] potential guests to the store,” Kelly Cronin Niszczak, Ikea North America’s media project manager, tells Adweek. “It’s another layer of our amazing stories we have about product development and sustainability...I think for us it really helped to deepen that knowledge base for our guests.”
Will VR one day be involved in picking Ikea furniture? It’s not totally implausible, seeing how the technology is playing an increasing role in the selling homes where furniture will one day reside. In the meantime, there are these awkward videos of the VR gameplay at the Dallas store opening.