Putting back the ‘IKEA experience’ in the IKEA shopping app.

NTUxSkill Union — UX/UI Design case study

Zack Chiong
7 min readMar 30, 2022


IKEA — the Furniture UX Champ

I believe that IKEA is one of the few UX champions in funiture retail industry. Many people like myself, would happily spend my weekend evening at IKEA, strolling through the maze of furniture set designs, eating swedish meatballs, even if I do not have any plans to buy any furniture.

The ‘IKEA effect’ in which users feel a stronger bond with the furniture they assembled themselves, the free IKEA catalogue book, the childrens’ play area, the Maze layout with furniture set design, the IKEA restaurant, free parking. These are all carefully thought out strategies based on User behaviour research to set IKEA apart from their competitors. However, not the same could be said for the IKEA shopping app.

Why do people not use the IKEA shopping app?

To understand why IKEA shoppers do not use the IKEA shopping app, my team and I conducted desk research, surveys and user interviews. After consolidating our findings, we concluded that there are 3 mains reasons for the low app download and utilisation.

#1 Many shoppers are unaware or do not use the IKEA shopping app.

Based on our initial screener survey, 52% are not aware that an IKEA shopping app exist. 25% knew about the app but did not download it and only 23% downloaded and used the app.

In a follow up survey, 75.5% of the respondent mentioned that they prefer to shop at the physical store.

#2 Shoppers face frustrations while using the app

In addtion to surveys, we have conducted User interviews conducted with IKEA shopping app users. After conducting an affinty mapping exercise within our team, we have identified 2 main pain points from our interviewees.

IKEA shopping app (Home page) UI as of Dec 2021
IKEA shopping app (Product category page) UI as of Dec 2021
IKEA shopping app (UI as of Dec 2021)

Pain point #1
Interviewees find it difficult to navigate app, and searching for the furniture that they want was frustration and confusing.

IKEA shopping app (Product description page UI as of Dec 2021)
IKEA shopping app (Product description page UI as of Dec 2021)

Pain point #2
Interviewees are unable to find information they need to help with their purchase decision.

#3 Increased Competition

Despite have a long head start, IKEA is facing even fiercer competitions now with the advancement and rapid adoption of technology. In addition, with ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is encouraged to stay indoors, leading more people to shop online. Younger companies such as Wayfair, Fortytwo and Castlery have been able to leverage on their online presence and better user experience to win over shoppers.

IKEA’s Vision

“Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people — for customers, but also for our co-workers and the people who work at our suppliers.”

How can we put the “IKEA experience” back into the IKEA shopping app?

The End Goal

With our key findings from the research, our team has defined these two Problem statement that were causing shoppers frustrations as they complete their task on the IKEA shopping app

The IKEA Shopper (Persona)

To better understand how we can improve the IKEA shopping experience on the IKEA shopping app, we have created a persona based on the profiles of our surveys and interviews.

Please meet Mr Blahaj, a tech-savvy Marketing Executive, who just moved into his new 4-room HDB flat in Singapore. He hopes to be able to find and buy a wardrobe for his master bedroom without having to go down to the physical store. On the current IKEA shopping app, these are the following steps he took to complete his task.

Finding and Buying a wardrobe — Part 1 (UI as of Mar 2022)

At the home page, he taps on the ‘sofa’ icon and is shown a list of categories of furniture. It takes him a while to process that wardrobe would be under the ‘Storage & Organisation’ category. On the next page he taps on ‘Wardrobe’ and is shown another list of categories, about wardrobes with different features.

Finding and Buying a wardrobe — Part 2 (UI as of Mar 2022)

At this point, Blahaj has to tap through 3 pages and still not able to start choosing a wardrobe for his master bedroom. Uninspired and undecided he taps on the ‘sliding wardrobe’ and is finally able to see some images of the wardrobe available.

It was only now that Blahaj realised he had not measured the dimensions of the physical space for his wardrobe. He now has to put down his phone, look for his tape measure, measure the space in his room and write the dimension down. This is cause some frustrations as it is has disrupted to his shopping experience (task flow). However, this obstacle is also an opportunity for improvement!

Finding and Buying a wardrobe — Part 3 (UI as of Mar 2022)

With the dimensions in mind and after some scrolling, Blahaj finds a wardrobe he likes. He tap on the ‘Kleppstad’ wardrobe to check the stock availablity and is finally able to add the wardrobe to cart and check out his purchase.

The Path towards the Goal

After following the footstep of Blahaj, through the customer journey map, I have identified the opportunity to help relief the frustration.

Proposed task flow part 1

To streamline the searching for products process, we would like to introduce the a dedicated ‘Shopping Buddy’ icon in the Navbar and a dedicated page with the AR Ruler feature.

With the AR ruler, the shopper will be able to measure the dimension of the physical space within the IKEA shopping app.

Proposed task flow part 2

After following the instructions and completing the measurement in the AR ruler, the shopper will be shown the dimensions, together with a search bar. The shopper will than be able to search for their desired furniture with the dimensions as the search filters. Finally, the shopper will be able quickly browse for their furniture and add to cart.

IKEA — The Innovator

IKEA is no stranger to innovation and has developed the IKEA Place app which leverages on Augenment Reality (AR) to help shoppers envision how a piece of furniture will look like at their space.

However, the IKEA Place app (only on Apple App store, as of Mar 2022) is a seperate standalone app which with limited functionality. If shoppers desires to purchase a furniture as seen in the IKEA Place app, They would have to take note of the furniture name and search for it in the IKEA shopping app.

The IKEA Augement Shopping Experience

I believe it would greatly improve the user’s online shopping experience if IKEA could combine both the IKEA shopping app and the IKEA place app together.

Hi-fi Mockup designed on Figma

In addition to the convenience of the AR ruler feature, being able to see how the furniture would look like in the shopper’s space via AR could boost the confidence that their selected furniture is the perfect fit for their home.

Furthermore, combining the two apps might also free up resource and save the cost required to maintain both apps!

Make the IKEA shopping app Great (again)!

IKEA’s long heritage and enduring presence in the furniture industry is enough proof that they are the Champion when it comes to the customers’ shopping experience, especially at their brick and motar store.

And there is no reason for them to lose their title of Champion within the digital shopping space. I believe IKEA can make the IKEA shopping app and their digital shopping experience great (again)!

Note: the above proposed solution is only one of the many other ideas that my team and I have thought of during our Ideation brainstorm session. Please do check out my team member’s solutions if you’re interested!

Redesigning the IKEA shopping app by Lili Ang



Zack Chiong

Aspiring UX/UI Designer from Singapore (NTUxSU UXPM C10)