‘Pillow Toss’ and Pandas: Ikea Dives Into Virtual Reality

 A New Way to Showcase Products

On December 13th, unassuming shoppers visiting a new Ikea store in Dallas, Texas were treated to a one of a kind immersive installation. Designed specifically for the new Dallas suburb shop, the Swedish furniture giant teamed up with recently merged tech agency Wavemaker to create a unique virtual reality experience for guests. This new experience comes a few months after the release of Ikea Place, an augmented reality app that allowed mobile users to get an idea of how Ikea products would look in their homes.

With games and demonstrations designed to teach guests about sustainability and design, Ikea’s VR experience gave guests the opportunity to frolic with pandas inside a bamboo lamp, examine furniture close-up and play a clever pillow-toss game on a coffee table. Nearly 300 people donned HTC Vive VR headsets and spent between 3 and 5 minutes playing games and learning about Ikea’s catalog of products.

By taking the tech to the next level, Ikea has given themselves an edge on the competition by giving digitally minded customers a compelling new way to explore product demos. Also, by launching the experience just in time for the holiday season, Ikea will undoubtedly see the results of their fun and educational VR games reflected in their sales.

With the framework already set in place and the games and demos finessed, Ikea can easily replicate their portable VR experiment at other stores and create an entirely new way to shop. VR is a natural crowd-pleaser and being able to step inside a virtual world, even if it is a marketing play, is something visitors will rush into stores for.


A Bright Future for VR Marketing

For big name brands like Ikea, with the funds available to splurge on the most cutting edge marketing methods, virtual reality is an appropriate stepping stone for the future of retail. As VR develops and becomes less costly, more brands with relevant enough products and content to make the expense worthwhile can start experimenting with the tech.

Not only is VR a great way to attract new waves of tech-savvy digital consumers, it could also open doors to new forms of e-commerce. The experience at the Dallas store was meant to be a fun and interactive way for customers to get a taste of the new technology, but as VR and integrated payment methods develop companies could use the tech to sell products directly through VR mediums.

The future is bright for VR and AR and as we head into 2018, we’re bound to see more companies utilizing the alluring technology to create new and engaging content for audiences.

For more information on Ikea’s new VR experience check out the full report at Adweek.