The apps, books, movies, music, TV shows, and art are inspiring our some of the most creative people in business this month The struggles and triumphs of prominent women in leadership positions The major tech ecosystems that battle for our attention and dollars What’s next for hardware, software, and services Our annual guide to the businesses that matter the most Leaders who are shaping the future of business in creative ways New workplaces, new food sources, new medicine–even an entirely new economic system Celebrating the best ideas in business An award-winning team of journalists, designers, and videographers who tell brand stories through Fast Company’s distinctive lens Ikea is the biggest furniture retailer in the world–a title that the company has managed to hold on to, amazingly, without a serious digital presence. In the age of free Amazon same-day delivery, Ikea still does a vast majority of its sales through its physical stores.

Its commitment to digital is quickly increasing, though. 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. “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,” says Michael Valdsgaard, leader of digital transformation at Ikea.

“For the majority of people in the world, Ikea isn’t accessible. Apps can make Ikea accessible.” Ikea Catalog App [Photo: Ikea]Note that Valdsgaard said that “apps” can make Ikea more accessible, not just “an app.” That’s because the company has aggressively experimented with mobile shopping apps over the past year, debuting many discrete pieces of software rather than rounding up all of the features into a single, perfect digital shop. Read more from fastcodesign.com…

thumbnail courtesy of fastcodesign.com