Three things that most people associate with the iconic Swedish retailer: sleek, modern furniture that requires a bit of DIY, having a branded restaurant on location, and the unique customer journey in IKEA that consists of a winding store layout that takes you through a visual tour.

We have described at length how retail customers are more likely to buy as they engage with more touchpoints in your store. If you’re in the industry, you’ve no doubt contemplated what you can learn from the Swedish furniture retailer, who has continued to grow as many stores of similar store size shut their doors.

You don’t have to completely mimic IKEA to be successful. However, by using their business model, you can influence your own customer journey.

person walking through the customer journey in ikea

Making Your Products and Store a Spectacle

Driving to an IKEA feels like arriving at a stadium. Parking lot after parking lot complements the massive warehouse, which looks like an airport terminal.

What’s more important here is branding. When you walk inside, you enter a totally different world—while you are at IKEA, you are immersed in the world of home goods. IKEA is very clear in its branding: the IKEA store is not just a stop along the way on a full day of errands. It is a destination, and you can expect to spend more than an hour there.

In your own stores, you may not be able to build a hundred thousand square feet of space. But you can still brand your store to feel less like an errand and more like a unique experience. Have your store immerse or engage customers. Tell the narrative and guide how they will be interacting with your products.

IKEA uses its space well, with products laid out in 400 square foot compact dioramas fully loaded with their products. The more products you have laid out demonstrated or acting as touchpoints, the more likely consumers are to buy.

IKEA gives customers a good idea of how something might look in their home, the crux of selling products. They help customers go beyond just looking at products, but actually experiencing them and visualizing how they might look in their homes.

outside ikea sign and sky

The Customer Journey in IKEA Answers Questions

Furniture shopping is arduous and a task most people put off. Think of the excuses that someone might say when they’re considering going furniture shopping.

  • It’s time-consuming
  • I have kids to take care of
  • Moving furniture is hard
  • It’s difficult to make decisions
  • I don’t know what I want

Each element of the IKEA experience is catered toward answering these excuses and driving a sale – that’s what defines a customer journey. In regards to the above items, IKEA answers it as such:

  • It’s time-consuming, but it’s also fun browsing their store. If you end up staying at IKEA throughout the afternoon or evening, they of course come equipped with a fully-loaded restaurant.
  • IKEA has a supervised play place, “Småland”, to keep an eye on your kids.
  • IKEA offers carts and carriages to help carry out the products to your car.
  • The entire store’s layout is a guided, sequential journey through the different displays. It is a strict path that leads you inevitably toward the warehouse and the checkout lanes at its exit.

So in your own stores, take a lesson from IKEA: ask the questions your customers are asking. What reasons would your customers not want to go out of their way to shop at your store – and what can you do to make your customer journey an answer to those questions.

inside the customer journey in ikea

Room for Improvement

What’s next for IKEA? They could integrate their kiosks with customers’ mobile phones to cut out the need for a pencil-and-paper and note-taking when looking for products in their warehouse. They also have potential in the augmented reality space, which has served furniture retailers in China well in further amplifying the customer experience.

IKEA currently has is a step up from the competition, offering a sleek, agile, and engaging experience that sets a model for other home goods stores to follow. Even if competitors like Pier 1 Imports or Havertys don’t follow the model one-for-one, there is still a lot to be gained from looking at where they have been successful.

If you’re ready to start applying some of these lessons to your own retail locations, let us make those improvements for you. Worldlink’s team has years of experience implement networks with great bandwidth and additional IoT capabilities, as well as performing POS refreshes and rolling out digital signage and kiosks to new locations. Contact us today by simply filling out the lead form to the right, or book an appointment with us.