Consumers who crave the simple joy of getting lost in an IKEA should keep an ear out for the retailer’s newest home goods collection, which will debut via audio in a campaign that’s unlike any they may have heard before.
The brand suspended its signature print catalog last year after 70 years, so the decision to diversify display options makes sense, especially as not everyone shares the same excitement about traversing the endless aisles of IKEA’s physical store. The Ikea Audio Catalog is a nearly four-hour collection of audio descriptions that span the 2021 digital catalog’s 286 pages. The audio catalog is being distributed across almost every audio-friendly platform, including Spotify and AudioBooks.com. Leaving no platform unturned, IKEA also set up a series of visual-free videos that cover a prologue and 13 chapters on YouTube.
If the task sounds as grueling as say, putting together a piece of IKEA furniture, you’d be right. To create the first-ever audio version of the IKEA catalog, “286 catalog pages had to be transcribed into 64 pages of written copy, with over 1,000 product descriptions, 69 legal disclaimers, plus more than seven mentions of veggie balls, recorded and mixed for over 135 hours of studio time.” And while the brand doesn’t specifically label the project as one targeted towards those with limited vision capabilities, almost every comment under the YouTube version thanks IKEA for looking out for those who lean on their ability to listen.
As the solution to helping consumers get over the buying-expensive-furniture-online hurdle continues to challenge retailers including Anthropologie, which just rolled out its own digital catalog, IKEA boasts a big advantage thanks to its relatively affordable price points. The Swedish label slipped from the Gifted to Average class in Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box last year, so it makes sense that it is now amplifying its digital assets to get back on track. In addition to its new digital catalog, the company debuted a digital card game and a line of furniture designed especially for digital gamers. Finally, the move echoes a new shift toward audio-based marketing that may have something to do with the increasing popularity of podcasts and of a certain emerging audio chat platform making the social media rounds recently.