KEA Place on iOS is a great AR App, but there is more to its success

IKEA have been experimenting with ways to let customers use an App to place furniture in their own home since way back in 2013. Since the release of iOS 11 and ARKit the IKEA App has been seen as something of a showcase for the technology ever since.

IKEA’s Place app is great, but not for the reasons that you might think…

Technology stack

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ARkit from Apple

IKEA Place uses ARkit to detect the horizontal plane of the floor to place furniture, and leverages Core Motion and visual inertial odometry. It is far from the only App to use these technologies. They have paired this with the Unity engine (which supports ARKit).

It seems that IKEA leveraged their experience of being an early adaptor of technology and applying it to AR, which still looks like it might be a really big opportunity in the future.

But in 2019, it feels that this is not the innovative application of mobile devices it once was. What else have IKEA done to make Place great?

Downloading a MNC App

IKEA allow the App to be installed from any of Apple’s App stores and change language and localisation options once installed and includes all of the regions where IKEA operate.

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The settings page is easy to use, even if you are not in your native language.

When you change your language, the interface is not locked as it updates.

This means that I don’t need to change App Store to see prices in SGD (Singapore Dollars); wonderful! Not only that, changes to language do not require a restart and even allows the use to continue to use the App as the language changes.

These features keep the friction to download the App low, and keep the uninstall rate low.

This isn’t all they thought of.

First impressions count

Place uses a conversational UI. This gives the brand of IKEA a voice, and it is one that is localised within the App (rather than at the level of the phone’s language, as written about above). This is important since customers (particularly in a market like Singapore) may use the App in multiple countries. More than that, it really feels like IKEA really want to help you and are on your side.

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A conversational style makes users feel comfortable

Privacy

Even better, they link the privacy policy to this conversational style. It feels like a member of staff is actually guiding you to the privacy policy, and even more than this you are already in the Appwhen you agree to it. Instead of providing a hard wall to your engagement to the App, it feels like you are already there and just need to get over this small hurdle before you reach the main part of the App.

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IKEA use a much softer method than some other Apps to get you to engage with the privacy policy

Responding to reviews

IKEA are not perfect in the after sales experience. They took a long while to respond to this less than great review, but even for larger App experiences it can be unusual for developers to respond. The fact they have spent time to reply perhaps shows the attention to detail that has pushed the app to achieve a rating of 4.6 on the App store.

Technology for a purpose

IKEA clearly had an aim for their App. They used (for the time) innovative technology and a new technology stack to deliver the experience they wanted. However, the goal seems to be to push IKEA and their products into the home, and they have considered the best way of doing this using the technology rather than letting the technology drive the experience.

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