Ikea Takes Its Catalogue Beyond The Printed Page

Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
Ikea will be taking its customers beyond the printed page through its soon-to-be shipped catalog, which will include augmented reality features that can be unlocked through a smartphone app.

In today's smartphone-driven world, organizations are constantly bombarding us with new apps that promise to make our lives easier and better. Just this morning, for example, I made a hairdresser's appointment through an iPhone app, even before I had got out of bed.And as my colleague, Anna Papachristos, wrote yesterday, QR codes are sprouting up everywhere, from supermarket fare to the backs of buses, tempting people to scan them and get additional content. These matrix bar-codes are transforming print into an interactive experience.

Now, one international organization has found a new way to connect with its smartphone- and tablet-toting customers and take them on a journey beyond the pages of its catalog. Ikea's upcoming catalog--211 million copies of which will be shipped around the world at the end of the month--will include an augmented reality feature that will take readers beyond the printed page.

According to this video, the new catalog will be "alive." A smartphone symbol on a number of pages will open the door to additional content. And customers only need to open the Ikea app on their smartphone or tablet and scan the page to unlock videos and interactive experiences, for example seeing what's behind cabinet doors that appear closed on the catalog page.

This interactive way of communication should introduce a wow factor to an old medium, and connects to people through devices which are always within an arm's reach. Ikea is also introducing an element of fun and adventure to what would otherwise be a static experience.

And the retailer is differentiating its catalog from the tens of others that clutter people's mailboxes. In my case, they rarely make it home and instead go from the mailbox to the trash can. This time, I cannot wait to receive the Ikea catalog and I'll have my smartphone ready to explore the new world that the organization wants to introduce me to.