Conversational Sleep Assistant

For IKEA Germany, we developed their first interactive service assistant to help people find the right mattress without losing sleep over it. The dialog-based recommendation tool greatly improves product discoverability while at the same time offering an enhanced customer experience. By replacing traditional search with a guided conversation, we demonstrate a new level of product expertise to radically boost consumer confidence.

Let’s talk.

The application plays a central role in increasing the trust in IKEA as product expert with a high level of consultative competence in the area of sleep and well-being. Based on intensive research on this high-involvement category, we developed the new application iteratively in close collaboration with IKEA’s product management. The main goal was to put consumers first – not the products. By making use of a knowledge-based recommendation system, we simplified and personalized the entire customer experience. Instead of combing through page after page of products, the assistant invites shoppers to a one-on-one conversation. It asks questions and finds the right products, using the answers given by the customer. The assistant enables consumers to enter the product detail pages for direct purchase and add products to the wish list to later test their selection of recommended products in-store.

Mobile first

Focussing on a mobile first strategy we gave the application an app-like feel. Using their own devices and without the hassle of downloading a new app, users access the intuitive tool from the comfort of their own home or on the go. At the IKEA store, the IKEA staff perfectly complements the mobile assistant, which can also serve as a visual foundation for their consultation.

Mobile first

Assistant with Personality

We aimed to give our virtual assistant its own personality that adheres to the brands core values. The development of a persona with a strong character, which reflects playfulness, curiosity and differs from other assistants laid the foundation for further developments of the assistant’s tone of voice. Users experience a friendly, blithe dialogue. Tapping into user’s emotions, the assistant provides helpful reactions to their choices. It listens to, understands and thus adequately advises consumers. The assistant’s personality is particularly emphasized by the visual responses. Embedded in an appealing design framework, the dialogue flow encourages user interaction, while the character captures their attention and guides them through the experience.

Reduced and modular visual design

We created a compelling visual experience with eye-catching visuals and animations. Our team of art direction, illustrators and motion designers developed a variable design for the assistant persona that derives from the visual core of the IKEA-brand. In that sense, we distilled the brands voice into a conversational service assistant, while also strengthening and broadening the well-known visual world of IKEA. It is defined by a reduced and modular look, conveyed through meaningful animations, which foster the physical feel of the character. Inspired by well-established chat features, the design concept is completed by a very intuitive user interface and interaction design.

Ensuring smooth and dynamic animations

The animation concept supports the overall consultation process. It makes complex product features more easily accessible to users while also adding a playful note to the assistants character. In order to provide the highest quality and performance we worked with Bodymovin: an extension that allows us to render smooth, dynamic and scalable animations. In addition to that we embedded them into a custom-build framework, which helped make the transitions between the different animations seamless. Using this method, we ensured a frictionless and responsive implementation into the application and enabled the design team to focus on their craft.

Good decisions need good data

At the core of the application is a recommendation engine which is directly integrated into the frontend Redux framework and both filters and scores products based on user answers. To keep data use and loading time at a minimum we accumulated and wrapped it in a node.js middleware. In addition to that, application specific information and content was made manageable through an easy-to-use CMS.

Ensuring smooth and dynamic animations Ensuring smooth and dynamic animations
Assistant Evolution

The carefully designed concept for the assistants personality and appearance allows for extensions into additional product categories. Product information and questions can easily be modified and adjusted to meet the requirements of diverse use cases. The aim is to develop the product advisor to a more profound expert that offers guidance in finding the right product and optimizing the home environment. Moreover, IKEA is able to gather new consumer insights and build up further knowledge about conversational commerce.

  • Sleep Assistant Bed
  • Sleep Assistant Website Detail
Extending the Mobile Journey to Conversational Commerce

In building the mobile service assistant we set out to enhance the customer’s journey, by creating a seamless connection between e-commerce, retail and the customer himself. Shopping online is transformed into an experience, that provides a more personal feel than usual e-commerce platforms. The customer engages in deeper interactions, which gives a unique shopping experience. By providing value and service to consumers with personalized product recommendations the virtual assistant sets a benchmark in this highly competitive market. An interactive experience in a playful, approachable and intuitive way: Just what you expect from IKEA.

  • Sleep Assistant Ending

Conversational Sleep Assistant