IKEA double-downs on the future of VR by gifting 14,000 employees with VR headsets and launching two VR game experiences.
Companies such as Pepsi, Lego and Nissan—to name a few—are turning to VR and AR as the new mechanism to reach out to customers to market products and offer more modern, innovative shopping experiences that involves virtual 360-degree environments, digital AR/VR interactive, and a home shopping experience that feels like you’re walking around in the store.
Popular Swedish furniture retailer, IKEA, recently announced it was giving 14,000 employees two VR headsets per head—one for themselves and one to give to a friend or family member—but the VR headset gift has a bit of a secret role for IKEA. Not only will it bring holiday cheer to the employees, it’s also meant to help acclimate employees to VR technology. After all, you can’t help customers if you don’t understand how they shop.
IKEA is definitely no stranger to VR experiences. In 2016, the company launched a VR app called IKEA VR (which won an award for Most Creative use of Marketing in VR during VR Bounds inaugural VR Awards); and then in early 2017, launched IKEA Place, an AR app that lets you place virtual furniture in your home to see how it looks before you purchase it.
The VR headsets that each employee will be receiving will be a HamiltonBuhl Spectra VIP VR headset.
“IKEA understands the world around us is changing, and we are changing too,” IKEA said in an official press release. “[The headset] represents new ways of viewing the world.”
But our IKEA VR story doesn’t end here, because on top of IKEA handing out VR headsets to employees for Christmas; the company also teamed up with the global media company, Wavemaker, to create two IKEA-branded VR experiences to give customers an extra layer of the shopping experience.
The two VR games, which you can see videos of in a recent Adweek article—one involving tossing pillows into a basket, the other transporting you inside an IKEA light fixture to hang out with pandas—are all part of IKEA’s reimagining of what a grand opening of a store should look like in the 21st Century that also includes educational sessions on sustainability and design.
The company recently used these two VR games to help bolster some excitement at a recent grand opening of a new Dallas store, which had over 300 customers trying VR (some for the very first time), and it looks like this will be used for future IKEA store grand openings.
Of course, if you’re still not convinced that immersive media is the future of shopping, or you doubt IKEA’s commitment to VR, visit the IKEA VR Store and shop around for that perfect futon for the game room in your basement.