Make Room For Ikea


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.

Signages at Ikea are clear and distinct, with its corporate colours of blue and yellow being used prominently.

A bright yellow, brand-inspired Ikea shopping bag which can be conveniently hooked on a shopping cart for ease of transport.

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.

Obviously, the philosophy of being child-oriented also extends to its product merchandise. Ethan simply loved that soft "puppy" which he was clutching!

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?

Cheap and unambiguous prices make Ikea a winner for everybody. Who doesn't like a bargain every day of the year?

Merchandise displays in Ikea are also prominent and well placed at eye-level. Notice the absence of ugly shelves which block both human passage or view. Almost everything can be seen at a glance.

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.

Obviously, I wasn't the only one!

To cut costs, one of Ikea's great innovation was to get customers to wrap their own items. Apparently, this isn't much of a stretch when the price is right.

Even their waiting areas for delivery services had cartoons being screened on televisions to keep customers occupied. A nice touch which obviously doesn't cost much.

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!

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