Ikea stores are essentially giant showrooms with shops attached to the end of them. This is where the magic starts to lose its sparkle – a great visual experience, full of thoughtful interior design ideas, suddenly turns sour (especially on weekends) with hard to find products, long wait lines, tired, grumpy customers and delivery times that don’t fit around your schedule. In choosing to reimagine the Ikea customer experience, we recognised an opportunity to take a good customer experience and make it great.
By utilising augmented reality, an Ikea app that allows you to preview Ikea furniture in your home (such as that created by Tylko) before venturing out to the store, will create the ability to shop with more intention and potentially shorten your time in the store. To take that a step further, we can envision a time within the very near future where you will walk into a Virtual Reality model of your house, add new furniture and move it around just be waving your hand in space – like dragging images around a tablet. If you like what you see you click the ‘Buy Now’ button for either home delivery or pick up.
High-Density housing is a feature of all modern cities. Space and effective management of that space becomes more and more important as families migrate to cities for better opportunities. Ikea is in an extraordinary position to build a community around the concept of ‘Better Living Through Better Living Spaces’. By encouraging efficient, sustainable and more beautiful living spaces, Ikea could create a movement within their audience that is bigger than just selling more furniture. Helping consumers learn and understand good interior design techniques, and about sustainability, could help form part of a larger loyalty program. This could take the form of courses held in store or streamed live online, short-form content for social media and in-store collateral.
Ikea stores are often on the outskirts of the city, a trip to Ikea can be a long day and is never complete without a visit to the cafe for a plate of Swedish meatballs. What if we flip the whole experience and make the Ikea cafe the destination? The cafes would be centrally located and could serve as miniature showrooms that promote the product (chairs, tables, cutlery etc), serve great food and a tablet that enables you to order product for home delivery (or pick up). Not to mention sell a ton of meatballs in the process.
To encourage repeat visits to the store and increased dwell times, a partnership with a wireless charging platform, such as Powermat, would be a welcome addition. Starbucks are the first to jump onto this technology buoyed not just by increased sales, but also by the ability to connect (via mobile app) to customers as they move through the city, but also by the data available via the platform.
As mentioned earlier, Ikea stores tend to lose some of the magic when you get to the point of purchase. Part of Apples magic is that the ugly part of the customer experience, the transaction, is removed (to a certain extent). Ikea could take a leaf out of the Apple Store ‘playbook’ and make it easy to scan and purchase a product, under $100 in value, via an app to reduce checkout lines and introduce a bit of magic back into the experience.
Some of these concepts may seem outlandish, but they aren’t ‘future tech’ they’re all technologies we, at Digital Mass, work with on a daily basis. As consumers begin to migrate more of their time to mobile, retailers need to get smarter about how they capture their customer data and attention, how they use that technology to create a better customer experience and to build deeper relationships with their customers. For us, that starts with data and utilising that data to build community, brand and great customer experiences. How Ikea looks to upgrade its customer journey over the next eighteen months will be interesting to watch. Will they lead or will they follow?