Ikea sees ‘massive opportunities’ with artificial intelligence and virtual reality

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  • Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ikea, told CNBC on Friday: “(What) we haven’t been able to do before is to find easier ways to connect with people so digital opens up massive opportunities for us.”
  • Several retailers have been betting on AI as the technology becomes more sophisticated and as competition from the likes of Amazon grows even tougher.

Sweden’s flatpack furniture giant is exploring how to make the best use of artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Thursday, Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ikea, told CNBC: “(What) we haven’t been able to do before is to find easier ways to connect with people so digital opens up massive opportunities for us.”

Brodin added a “major shift” in technology over recent years had prompted the furniture powerhouse to begin testing AI and virtual reality.

Several retailers have been betting on AI as the tech becomes more sophisticated and as competition from the likes of Amazon grows even tougher.

‘Curiosity and willingness’

In September, Ikea launched an augmented reality app that allowed consumers to design rooms in their homes by virtually test-driving furniture and home goods.

“Like most retailers, we don’t know exactly where we will land at the end of it but our curiosity and willingness to create will be a guide for us,” Brodin said.

Earlier this month, Marc Metrick, president of luxury department store Saks Fifth Avenue, told CNBC that retailers should not be intimidated by the emergence of AI.

“When you think about the online versus the offline experience, we don’t need AI in our stores. We have ‘I’,” Metrick said.

This article first appeared in www.cnbc.com

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