Ikea has been a furniture shopper’s favorite for decades, and once you visit, it’s easy to see why. Quality pieces at a great value, furnished and decorated “demo homes,” even a spot where you can get cake and Swedish meatballs! (It’s like they already know me!)
The folks at Ikea have had years to perfect their marketing strategies, but there’s no reason you can’t stand on the home decor giants’ shoulders and take a few hints for your own small business.
This week, we take a look at how marketing like Ikea could help you build a better business.
Find the Sweet Spot Between Cost and Quality
I don’t know about the rest of the world, but here in Orlando, Ikea is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Before Ikea was around, Orlando furniture buyers didn’t have many options. There were the big brand furniture stores (with a big price tag to match), the “discount” furniture stores (with a limited selection and lower quality), or the thrift store (sometimes you can walk away with a great deal, but mostly filled with junk).
So you had to choose between low-cost and high-quality, and you didn’t always get something functional or fashionable.
Ikea hits that perfect balance between low-cost and high-quality, while still maintaining a stylish decor.
When the store first opened in the 1940’s, the owners discovered first-hand that low costs alone aren’t enough to attract customers. In the middle of a furious price war with one of their competitors, they discovered that the quality of their product was coming into question. The first Ikea furniture showroom opened in 1953 to combat that thinking and let customers experience the quality of the merchandise before buying.
Today, Ikea stores openly show their testing procedures right in the store, so you can rest assured that the product will last. You can follow this strategy in your own business by looking at your marketing plan from a “value-based” perspective, focusing on how much quality you offer for the price.
People like to know what they’re getting, and they often don’t mind paying a higher-than-rock-bottom price if they feel they’re getting plenty in return.
Show The Possibilities
It’s one of my favorite parts of an Ikea visit: those cute little 450-sq-ft homes, display kitchens, and fake bedrooms that show you how to put everything together in your own life. Who knew that coffee table would look so good with that chair? I never would have dreamed of hanging a plate on my wall, but now that I see it….
Realtors use this trick all the time when staging a home. If the customer can see how the finished product looks and can picture themselves in it, you’re halfway to making a sale.
Website designers often use mockups to show potential clients how their finished web page will look without having to do any coding. Free samples and free trials work on the same principle: you want customers to see for themselves how great your product is and how much they need it.
While you don’t want to give away all of your inventory, sacrificing a few bucks to prove how great your product is can be cheaper (and gain more business) than taking out an ad in the paper.
Ikea started out as just a furniture store, but the owners started to realize that—as much as people loved to visit the showrooms—the store emptied for a few hours as the customers all left to go to lunch. Rather than accepting this as a necessary evil in the retail world, Ikea opened its first restaurant in 1960.
In the present day, with the SmÅland play spot for the kiddies and restaurants to satisfy your sweet and savory cravings, Ikea can keep people in the store for hours.
If you own a retail store, consider ways to keep your customers busy in-store. The longer they stay, the greater their chance of spending a few more dollars. Target stores did something similar when they started opening cafès and Starbucks stores. Many coffee shops do this by offering books, board games, and Wi-fi to keep customers from walking right back out the door.
Think about who is patronizing your business (families, the 9-to-5 crowd, college kids) and find out what (besides your amazing product) will get them through the door. One little thing may be the grain of rice that tips the scales in your favor.
Ikea does many things right and has decades of experience in the retail business. But by paying attention and using a little creativity, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same.
What are your favorite business strategies from the big brands? Share in the comments below!
Clarity Creative Group is a web design & internet marketing company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. We love Ikea’s desks for our office space and homes alike.