Ikea steps Into Virtual Reality by Creating a Game for New Store Openings

  • 18 December 2017
  • Jermaine Wright

Having already entered augmented reality with the app Ikea Place, Ikea is now exploring a way for shoppers to learn more about its products in virtual reality with a VR Game.

The home furnishing company collaborated with recently merged MEC-Maxus agency Wavemaker, to incorporate a virtual reality experience for one of its store openings in a Dallas suburb.

The VR experience immersed visitors in an Ikea world where they played a “pillow toss” game with a coffee table or hang out with a panda inside a bamboo lamp using the supplied HTC Vive headset.

Nearly 300 people tried out the new VR  game, spending between three and five minutes playing games, examining furniture or learning about sustainability and design.

This is the popular Swedish brand’s latest move in helping shoppers learn more about its furniture in a more experiential way.

The Ikea Place app, which was released a couple months ago, allowed shoppers see how hypothetical purchases would look by holding up their iPhone camera in their home.

VR can be an expensive endeavour. Marketers and content creators still question whether the emerging technology is effective enough to drive a return on investment, especially for small events like these.

However, Ikea’s VR game could be a template for future stores to potentially reuse.

According to Noah Mallin, Wavemaker’s head of experience, content and sponsorship, because Ikea has set up a framework with the experiment, it’s replicable and portable for future store openings.

He said wearing the headset becomes part of the theatre and allows Ikea to utilize past experiential marketing initiatives and “bump it up a few notches.”

For now, VR is still a marketing endeavour for Ikea, but Mallin thinks there are areas of potential such as e-commerce.

Other companies have already started exploring the possibilities. Earlier this year, Mastercard partnered with Swarovski to let users see a chandelier in VR and then buy it with Mastercard’s app from within the experience.

VR could be a more immersive way for consumers to shop compared to websites or mobile apps. There’s also an opportunity to incorporate personalized product placement within VR.

About Jermaine Wright