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IKEA Stay / 2016
~ Student project in group of 6, my role being ux design, visual design, and copywriting

~ Winner of Best UX by Students award at Vancouver’s UX Awards
~ Winner of People’s Choice award at Vancouver’s UX Awards

IKEA Stay is a conceptual service that allows IKEA customers to test out products that best suit their needs through an immersive Airbnb stay and web experience.

A blend between a physical and digital showroom, IKEA Stay allows people who are moving to a new city to visualize the way their homes could look and get a further understanding of what products work for them. IKEA Stay moves people towards their online platform, so customers are drawn to the ecommerce and encouraged to order products online.

When you are at IKEA, they try to make you feel at home.

IKEA's strength is in their brick and mortar stores. In particular, they’re well known for their engaging showroom experience. The IKEA team spends hours understanding what differentiates a home from a house, enabling them to design showrooms that immerse customers in various living scenarios and allows customers to envision their future homes.

Business Problem
IKEA is falling behind other furniture retailers in online sales.

Despite their strong competency with their showrooms, my initial research found that IKEA's business model is less suited to online selling compared to other retailers, as it has mostly relied on shoppers visiting their physical showroom experience and collecting purchases themselves in-store. This has resulted in IKEA falling behind other furniture retailers in online sales.
Meanwhile, their in-store experience is still strong and truly provides customers with product confidence. So, how could we blend IKEA's physical showroom experience with their online experience?

How could we leverage current trends of moving, to bring people to IKEA's online website?

Alongside my research, I looked into instances of why and when people were purchasing furniture and found that the industry is tightly interlocked with the trends in how people move.

Demographic and partnership
By following the insights discovered, I was able to pin-point a particular demographic whose needs could be full-filled by IKEA. Those that are moving to a new city for work in the tech industry, looking to rent or buy a home, desires a stylish home, but on a budget, and stays in short-term living solutions, such as Airbnbs.

By partnering with Airbnb, IKEA can unlock new customer segments by gaining access to Airbnb’s worldwide customer network. They can gain a faster ROI for online presence and increase customer attention and flow. IKEA doesn’t have to start from scratch in an industry they aren’t as familiar with, but instead gain access to spaces they can place the IKEA Stay experience.

︎ See more about the benefits for all stakeholders

Experience overview
IKEA Stay is driven by its core digital experiences that play a part in the pre, during, and post experience.

1. Discover
Booking an IKEA Stay

Guests start by booking their IKEA Stay through the Airbnb website, or they can visit the IKEA website and discover it through the 'IKEA Stay' tab.

2. Engage
Staying at the Airbnb

When guests first arrive at their Airbnb, they are greeted with a tablet that they can use during their stay. This tablet allows guests to bookmark their favourite IKEA items that are in the Airbnb by browsing through products room by room. They also have the option to view more details about the items, or purchase items on the spot.

The key purpose of the tablet is for customers to keep track of, and learn more about the items they like throughout their stay.

A tablet was chosen as the medium because it is a light portable tool that is already pre-loaded with IKEA products, making it really easy for the consumer to start bookmarking products.

︎ See video of tablet experience

3. Explore
Personalized email

Once they leave the Airbnb they will be reminded to take a look at the products they bookmarked during their stay through a personalized email invitation.

This email has a button that brings the guests to a landing page that allows them to revisit their IKEA Stay. If they did not bookmark items, they’ll still receive the email and be invited to revisit their stay and browse the products within their stay.

4. Continue exploring
Products in new contexts

By clicking through to the website via the email, guests are brought to a landing page where they can browse the items they bookmarked, allowing them the opportunity to see them again in closer detail.

One of the most valuable aspects of the web experience is the context tab, which allows customers to see the same product they love from their IKEA Stay in different usage scenarios and environments (other IKEA Stays).

This reduces the cognitive overhead of having to think about which items and colours best suit their home, and provides customers with options on how they can style their room and configure these items.

After looking at the different contexts, customers can decide to add the item to their cart or bookmark it for later.

︎ View a clickable prototype

Sector-wide implications
The IKEA Stay service model can translate to not only IKEA, but to other furniture or home stores as well. Collaborations could be built amongst Airbnb and multiple companies, or other short-term housing options.

As well, IKEA Stay could also lead IKEA to developing their own short-term housing service, so instead of renting out spaces through Airbnb, IKEA would rent spaces from their own rental service.

Potential results
Increase online sales
Moves people towards their online platform, now customers are drawn to the ecommerce and encouraged to order products online.

Build up market Creates an interest in an IKEA lifestyle by introducing potential customers to a home filled with IKEA furniture and products. This makes the transition into the brand more inviting for customers.

Refresh catalogue of inspiration Provides new ways to style homes through the Airbnb context photos. This allows customers to see products in an authentic light, giving them further reasons to purchase items.

Leverage Airbnb guests' stay
IKEA items are placed inside Airbnb homes, becoming a showroom they can live in, strengthening the brand’s vision of ‘creating the perfect home’ for customers.