Monday, 14 October 2013

Ikea's ambitious marketing plans

Ikea UK is aiming to increase turnover to £2 billion annually by 2020 and double its market share at the same time, through the addition of new stores and higher online sales. This is part of Ikea's worldwide goal of doubling turnover by 2020. The company currently operates 303 stores, but in this age of multichannel marketing, it's smart to increase its emphasis on online sales.

Ikea carefully plans ahead for new products, especially expensive product systems like new kitchens that will be marketed to tens of millions of customers all over the globe. Recently, the Swedish furniture retailer introduced a newly designed kitchen system that can be tailored to each buyer's specific situation.

The product development process unfolded over more than five years--an unusually long period but necessary because Ikea sells one million custom-designed kitchens every year.

The process began with indepth studies of customers in 38 nations. Ikea's researchers visited home after home, observing how customers moved around their kitchens, where they stored utensils and what they liked and disliked. The company also examined trends to envision future needs.

Next, Ikea's designers developed each component, working closely with suppliers and transportation experts to keep costs within the company's strict guidelines. Not every component will be bought by every customer, but all must look good and fit properly, delivering both function and fashion benefits at affordable prices.

The catalogue is Ikea's main marketing tool outside the stores. New for 2014, Ikea has an augmented reality app that helps customers get a preview of how a table or another product pictured in the catalogue might look in their home or office.