Defining and executing the vision for the next-generation customer experience
What we did
- Vision for transformation
- First e-commerce app
- Global site redesign
- Redefined in-store digital
- Built a design system
IKEA’s footprint is vast—over two billion people shop a range of 12,000 products in 500+ sales locations in 59 countries and online. But as digital becomes increasingly important—especially in the age of Covid—the retail behemoth needed to modernize and transform their business.
As their digital agency of record, Work & Co defined the vision of a future where technology holistically enhances the customer experience at every interaction. Of course, we didn’t stop there. We also helped bring it to life.
Our first challenge—creating IKEA’s first e-commerce-enabled mobile app—took just 6 months from concept to MVP. From there, we took on the entire multi-channel ecosystem of digital touchpoints, including the website, internal tools, and the stores.
The new experience led to greater efficiency, richer engagements, and incremental revenue.
“Work & Co’s known for its track record of defining and launching the world’s best digital experiences—especially in retail. That’s why we chose them to help IKEA improve engagement with our customers across e-commerce, mobile shopping and in-store experiences.”
Recognition & Awards
“It is a completely new experience. The app is combined with the store." Read more
"A bona-fide, full-featured shopping app." Read more
"The approach is sound and offers much to learn from." Read more
Shortlist, Design Week Awards, Best App Design. Read more
Winner, 6X Lovie Awards. Read more
Winner, 3X Platinum Awards. Read more
Finalist, FastCo Innovation by Design Awards, Data Design. Read more
4 Big Takeaways
Defining a vision for product and partnership
Bringing IKEA into the “now”
Already a worldwide leader in brick-and-mortar retail, IKEA’s leadership partnered with Work & Co to accelerate their digital transformation. Our team’s first task was to develop a cohesive and tech-savvy vision and strategy around which the global organization could align. We began a months-long process of research and brainstorming and problem solving.
From idea to execution
Once we’d identified effective solutions to the challenges, we drafted a new vision for the customer journey intricately detailed in animations and prototypes, which helped ensure all parties were aligned on the plan: aspirational and sophisticated, but also attainable. Together with IKEA, we established a strategy to work as partners with internal teams, sharing design and development labor, openly exchanging ideas and feedback, and even providing guidance on IKEA’s hiring strategies.
Overhauling web & mobile commerce
To bring IKEA’s famed catalog to life for the digitally native, the app leads with inspiration. Customers browse the app the same way they would IKEA’s showroom—imagining how products complement their home or aesthetic—but with technology enhancing the journey.
A new AI-powered API suggests images based on a customer’s interests and evolving taste. Our cross-platform CMS allows editors to create content once, then deploy them across both the app and IKEA.com. And to bring over 760 collections to life, our team of writers built new engaging copy that scales no matter the country.
From mattresses to lightbulbs to kitchens and beyond, the variety of products IKEA offers are presented and sold in a myriad of ways. The flexible digital designs enable a shopping experience optimized by category and use. Inspiration galleries, planners, guides, and other content can easily be added to help shoppers find their perfect option, plus accessories and add-ons to complete the look. With around 250,000 SKUs per market, this aspect of our work was essential.
Ethical data usage
Industry-leading contextual digital tools raise the bar on data transparency and give customers control over how data is collected, stored, and used. Customers can choose if and how the company uses information—such as their IKEA browsing history, previous purchases, and product preferences—to inform product recommendations in its app, and eventually on its website. To aid explanation of these abstract concepts to users, we explored evolving the iconic IKEA assembly character as an approachable guide.
A unifying design system
Consistency at scale
To address the challenge of keeping consistent design across all of the different touchpoints, we worked with IKEA to build a new design system. Skapa is a single source of truth for global button styles, iconography, interaction patterns, and motion libraries brought to life in one React Storybook component library. Components are strategically added and removed over time, meaning the design system is treated as a product that will never stop evolving, while simultaneously keeping the brand universally aligned.
Branding and tone of voice
From a custom icon set to branded price presentation and rigorous color guidelines, each component infuses the IKEA branding into our digital platforms. To complete our design system, we also established a new, digital-first tone of voice with dynamic writing guidelines. Now, writers, designers, motion designers, and developers have everything they need to produce new work across the digital ecosystem.
By including best practices for accessibility into design components, we ensure our digital products are natively inclusive. Solutions are defined once, and repeated throughout development.
A design system is only successful if it’s used globally by an organization. That’s why we helped IKEA establish strategies for training tailored to user types and knowledge levels, advocating for adoption, maintenance and upkeep of components and documentation, and hiring a team dedicated to its management. These critical pieces helped to ensure long term success.
Redefining in-store touch points
New ways to shop
Part of IKEA’s transformation includes the introduction of new store formats—spaces dedicated to browsing, planning, and ordering—in addition to the traditional locations. The new ecosystem Work & Co delivered integrates digital and physical across all stores in new ways, enhancing the experience for both shoppers and co-workers. New digital tools and features provide more relevant product browsing and interactions, personalized recommendations and shopping lists, and seamless checkout processes—all tailored to the shoppers’ preferences and needs.
Scan & Go
Digital touchpoints are integrated to bridge the omni-channel experience. In-store features give users the ability to scan products, explore options and accessories, then skip the checkout line while in the physical store, reducing customer stress and simplifying the path to purchase.
We helped create Upptäcka, a replacement for the aging digital in-store installations. These new kiosks integrate with each other and the overall IKEA digital ecosystem, reducing one-off solutions. Upptäcka adapts to each store and location, making it the most contextually relevant digital touchpoint at IKEA.
Fixa is a task management app designed to digitize time-consuming paper-based processes, making co-workers more efficient and effective, freeing up time to focus on customers. Co-workers have called it “the best product IKEA has ever given them.”
Partner with us
Work & Co is trusted by the world’s leading companies to drive growth and bring innovative solutions to market. Together we can build and scale your core digital products.