A marketing exec for IKEA explains: 'Our customers want to be able to test out whether the products they’ve been inspired by in our catalogue will work in their own homes, particularly when it comes to larger pieces of furniture'.
This would be a benefit for both shoppers and the store (reduces returns, improves shopper satisfaction). And if the sample rooms are appealing enough, shoppers may even order other furniture after using the app.
IBM's image recognition app (see left) is in the testing stage. Due out soon, this app would identify merchandise on store shelves, provide extra information and enable shoppers to organise choices by price or other attribute.
For instance, the app might help shoppers eliminate products that contain gluten or dairy. The purpose is to help shoppers make more informed buying decisions.
In this age of showrooming, when shoppers can do price comparisons with apps while standing in the store and then click to buy from an online rival, retailers see apps as a way to demonstrate their understanding of customer needs.