Earlier this month, IKEA teamed up Dutch designer Piet Hein Ek for a delivery of “deliberately imperfect goods” known as the “Industriell” collection. Now, setting sights on the future of furnishings, the Scandinavian brand appears to be experimenting with augmented reality, unique apps and other forward-thinking ideas.

As Co.Design‘s Mark Wilson writes: “People visited Ikea stores 936 million times last year, but they visited Ikea online 2.3 billion times. Meanwhile, the company debuted new ways to shop using AR and VR, partnered with the visual AI startup GrokStyle, and acquired the gig economy company TaskRabbit.

In short, Ikea is acting more like a tech company than a furniture maker. And within the next few years, the way you think about shopping at Ikea will probably change entirely, as the company is aggressively pursuing a new, digital identity through its evolving wave of experimental apps.” With industry analysts forecasting a dynamic shift in the way IKEA does business, the company is aiming use digital innovation and cutting edge technology to make its goods accessible to anybody.

“The business model of Ikea having a blue box in a cornfield, and you jump in the car with your family and have an ice cream [at the store], is not the only thing we should offer our customer,” Michael Valdsgaard, IKEA’s head of “digital transformation,” explains to Co.Design. “For the majority of people in the world, Ikea isn’t accessible.

Apps can make Ikea accessible.” While IKEA is currently testing the waters with a range of apps, its creative masterminds are looking to lay the foundations for future business models. “In the future you’re going to search either verbally or visually,” Valsgaard tells Wilson. Read more from hypebeast.com…

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