IKEA launches 'virtual store' for Gladstone customers
IKEA's announcement earlier this year that it would open online depots in Rockhampton, Mackay, Cairns and Townsville prompted a wave of phone calls from Gladstone residents who felt left-out.
The Swedish furniture giant responded to the "astounding" amount of interest by expanding the roll-out to include a depot here.
Now Gladstone shoppers have the opportunity to experience the next best thing to a physical store.
IKEA launched its Virtual Reality Store this week, allowing online customers to walk through a digital version of an IKEA sales floor.
"We want to offer the full IKEA store experience to our online shoppers," IKEA Australia's Malcolm Haylett said.
"We know that IKEA customers like to look online for inspiration... the virtual reality store is simply a different and more immersive tool that allows you to do that."
WATCH | Virtual Reality Store demo
"You can stand in a room-set and visualise it as if you were there in person, walk the store, check out inspiring room-sets and browse products," Mr Haylett said.
"Once you find a product that you're interested in, you can click on that product and it pops up the product information.
"You can then add to your shopping list and complete the purchase."
The virtual store is available on virtual reality headsets via IKEA's app, as well as desktop and mobile devices.
IKEA says the venture is a first for large format retailers in Australia.
"For regional customers it's really important because... some of our regional customers are 20 hours drive away from an IKEA store," Mr Haylett said.
"This virtual reality store enables them to experience what a customer would do in a metro market."
The virtual store will be officially launched in Townsville this weekend.
You can check out the IKEA Virtual Reality Store here.