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Dive Brief:

  • Adding another tech tool to its assortment, Ingka Group, Ikea’s largest retailer, has launched Ikea Kreativ, a tool that lets shoppers virtually visualize and design their spaces using their computers and smartphones, the retailer announced on Wednesday
  • Geomagical Labs, which is owned by Ingka Group, developed the tool using spatial computing, machine learning and 3D mixed reality technologies. The Ikea app feature uses AI to remove the existing furniture and replace it with new decor. 
  • The tool is now available for U.S. iOS shoppers and will soon be available for Android users, but it won’t be available in other countries until next year, per the announcement.

Dive Insight:

Ikea is rolling out its new digital tool following the COVID-19 pandemic-induced boom in home decor. Per its Ikea Life at Home report, more than 60% of customers had to significantly alter their living space to function since the coronavirus pandemic. The company also noted that it had seen an uptick in consumers shopping via digital channels. 

“Ingka Group is passionate about helping people create a better life at home, and we continuously look to add value to our customers’ experience, both on and offline,” Parag Parekh, co-acting chief digital officer at Ingka Group, said in a statement. “Through the innovative, intuitive technology of Geomagical Labs and simple digital experience, we believe Ikea Kreativ will break down barriers to shopping for home furnishing, empowering people to go from inspiration to reality and design their perfect home.”

Ikea has been experimenting with tech tools over the past few years. In 2019, the retailer announced its “Ikea Home Smart” business unit, a separate entity responsible for its smart home business end to end. The following year Ingka Group bought Geomagical Labs for an undisclosed sum to use its technology for 3D, photo realistic images of its products. It also unveiled, a platform highlighting its “experiments” with AI, machine learning, AR and spatial intelligence tools. 

Ikea wasn’t quite prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic shift to e-commerce, but the retailer has since turned its online business around. Ikea Group plans to invest about $3.2 billion into current and new stores to reposition its physical locations into also acting as e-commerce distribution channels.

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