In a desperate bid to get my son to sleep on his own, my wife and I decided to venture to Ikea at Alexandra Road to shop for a “tent”. Well, actually we were looking for a bed canopy which my son Ethan said will help him sleep on his own at night. The current arrangement was that one parent had to spend the night with him in his bed room. This obviously isn’t ideal as you would imagine.
Ikea is one of the world’s leading furniture retailer. It is founded in Sweden by Ingvar Kamprad, who is the fourth richest person in the world with a net worth of US$33 billion. The chain is huge, with 254 stores around the world in 35 countries, and adopts a franchising model of business. One of its key strengths is in “democratic design” which integrates efficient manufacturing and design to capture economies of scale and consumer preferences.
One of my first observations of Ikea is the prominence of its customer loyalty “friends” programme. Its always a good idea to reward regular customers with a membership scheme.
This colourful ball pit and children’s play area at the entrance of Ikea clearly shows where its heart is. If you can occupy the kids for an hour or so, parents are more likely to shop for longer durations.
Ahhh… food glorious food. I read somewhere before that the restaurant at Ikea was one of the most profitable around the world. In fact, it was a greater cash cow than the furniture retail arm itself! Swedish meatballs anyone?
Interior design is also key in getting customer’s to buy in. What we see aren’t just products laid out in rows upon rows but put together in actual scenarios. I was especially impressed with how they “ID-ed” their childrens’ rooms.
Finally, as part of their positioning as a socially responsible corporate citizen, Ikea does its bid to save the environment. Kudos to the Swedes for teaching us a thing or two on doing our retailing right!