Customers Rock!

A blog about customers, their experiences, and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock!

Ikea Rocks with its Retail Customer Experience

Posted by Becky Carroll on August 9, 2008

In the current economy, consumers are holding on to their money more tightly and making hard choices about if, and where, to spend it.  Having a great customer experience greatly increases the chances that a) customers will come back to shop there again and b) they will tell their friends and family about how great it was!   Word of mouth is very powerful marketing; studies show that consumers trust friend recommendations more than information from vendors.

Ikea is one of those stores with a great shopping experience that evokes word of mouth.  In addition to the fun one can have by sitting on all those couches or envisioning how that bedroom would look in your own house, Ikea does things to make a difference even to the smallest customers.

Ikea has a play area for the littlest ones, where they can romp while their parents are enjoying the shopping.  However, Ikea actually encourages families to bring their children with them through the showroom experience, starting right from the entrance.  At our local Ikea store, a staircase leads shoppers up to the showroom floor.  I was very impressed when I noticed they had put in a hand rail at kid-level, just right for those youngsters to hold onto while navigating the steps (see photo).  The sign on the hand rail says the following:

“We care about the little ones, too.  Look for the hand rails mounted lower, specially for your children.”

This does two things for the customer.  One, the rail itself helps the kiddos feel like grown-ups (look, Mom, I can reach the hand rail!).  Two, it specifically tells customers that Ikea has thought about their experience in advance and has done something to make it better.

Understanding Customers

Whether your customers are consumers or businesses, having a solid understanding of them makes all the difference in the sales and marketing process.  How do your customers shop your business?  What would make it easier to buy from you?  Craft your own customer buying experience around the answers to those questions, and you will find an increase in not only sales, but also in new customers as the word spreads that you are a fabulous place to meet their needs.

For more great insight into the retail customer experience, see the these smart blogs: Doug Fleener’s Retail Contrarian, CB Whittemore’s Flooring the Consumer, Stephanie Weaver’s Experienceology.

(Photo credit top: rmarmion; photo credit bottom: bcarroll)


11 Responses to “Ikea Rocks with its Retail Customer Experience”

  1. Hi Becky,
    Thanks for the shout-out! I like the aspect of the Ikea experience you have pointed out. I also love their cafeteria. I don’t actually enjoy shopping there if I’m looking for a particular product, as the layout is designed to make you lost in the store. But as a place to wander and discover, it’s really fun! I’ll look for the handrail next time I visit the store.

    Stephanie Weaver

  2. Becky, thanks very much for including Flooring The Consumer as a resource!

    Funny that you mention IKEA. I came across several articles about them over the weekend. One referring to the opening of their first US based manufacturing facility to improve delivery to the US. The other about product presentation. Via their vignettes and product presentations, they do such a terrific job celebrating creativity and practicality.

    I hope you are well, and I think I saw a tweet suggesting you would be attending the MProfs event in Oct?? That would be very cool.

  3. Stephanie, glad to point you out. I also like their cafeteria; very reasonable, and yummy! I actually enjoy getting “lost” in Ikea; I just can’t go there too often, as my wallet comes back so much lighter. 😉

    CB, you are welcome! I love their vignettes and the way they present their products; I think it really helps to visualize how furnishings could look in a home.

    Yes, I will be at the MarketingProfs event in October as part of Rohit B’s panel. Are you coming?? I am looking forward to it!

  4. Bernhard said


    I like your approach to describing the essence of the IKEA customer experience. As you observed the people IKEA work on the small things to create remarkable customer experiences, but IKEA is also an intersting case study how to create customer experiences by focusing on delivering extraordinary high customer value.

    IKEA focuses not on “bigger, better, more” but actually one “cheaper, faster, easier” to create customer experiences. We tend to forget that this is also a feasible path for customer experience management.

    I have written about it here on my blog, maybe you have a comment on it:


  5. […] that understand their customers and make unique efforts to make the experience memorable (see the Customers Rock blog for another retail example using […]

  6. Great post, thanks for the valuable content. Ikea sound like it put some real world relevant thought into its business model>


  7. GD Guy said

    As a frequent customer of Ikea, I have to agree that they rock. A visit to Ikea is always more than just a “Shopping trip”, it is a day out. Although it is easy to get “lost” in one of their stores, there’s never a worry as it becomes a voyage of discovery

  8. Newly weds, recently married couples, and married couple with <5 years are probably Ikea's primary target. They truly understand their customer base.
    The dollar ice cream and the hot dogs are treats for me whenever I visit Ikea.

  9. Lifespace said

    Just wanna share my personal experience with ikea, at first i was hesitant to buy but because of how the customer service treat me and explain the products i end up buying and i was so happy and thankful with that.

  10. aamirnpt said

    Very nice

  11. télécharge csr classics gratuit

    Ikea Rocks with its Retail Customer Experience « Customers Rock!

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