Journey Back Home: IKEA UK’s Omnichannel Success

I’m Valash, Paid Search manager at iProspect in London working on IKEA account. Here’s a story about Journey back home. I moved from Thailand to London 7 years ago. That was the first time I had to find a home for myself and decorate it my way. Naturally, I Googled where to go, starting with “modern dining table” and finally I had my first ever IKEA day. After lunch there, obviously meatballs, I began walking along these amazingly decorated showrooms, a maze of products.I sat down on one of the dark brown oak veneer dining tables and I said, “this is the table worthy of my masterpiece Thai dinner, stereotypically green curry, pad krapow on jasmine rice with fried egg on side”.


That’s a proof that IKEA is already a master in retail and marketing. Unique, fun, and exciting in-store experience that remains the foundation of IKEA business.The iconic IKEA catalogues: (joke) probably somewhere in my bathroom right now. Emotional and memorable ATL marketing. To me, IKEA TV ads are either very heartwarming, funny, or satirical.


For IKEA, a physical visit to the store means so much more than positive ROAS number. It’s the chance to showcase things people would have missed online, the chance to make real connections, and the chance to give them that familiar touch of home. And of course you cannot just buy one thing at IKEA! That’s the true offline success.


What role then can online play in this real world journey home?


Paid Search

We know that Paid Search has been a massively successful channel as a conversions driving platform. By delivering incredible sales performance measured by online ROAS as a core KPI, We bring home to people. As John just reminded us how digital is such a critical touchpoint before visiting a store. We’ve just entered an era where online isn’t killing brick & mortar, but rather where online could also inspire people to continue their journey in-store, like IKEA. In 2015, we were one of the first brands in the UK to start measuring Store Visits on Google Ads, AdWords back then.


Omnichannel marketing for IKEA started there.That journey has 3 heroes.


Local Inventory Ads

Though we first started small with LIA EasyFeed on selected products on offers. By enhancing our Shopping ads with LIA showing product availabilities in store close-by, we saw an instant jump of 100% increase in CTR. I’d recommend starting with a small list of products you’re sure are in-stock, on offer, or have a high margin. 


It’s a big task to expand our LIA to cover over 26,000 items in our Shopping feed across 22 stores in the UK but our friends at IKEA and ProductsUp, a feed management platform, are working tirelessly to make it happen. LIA laid the foundation for us to build another successful Omnichannel ad format.


Local Catalogue Ads

Our best performing LCA consisted of an interactive map showing the nearest IKEA store based on your location with opening hours and directions. We used lifestyle images as Hero image showcasing products on offers at that store.Followed by a catalogue of selected products fetched directly from LIA feed. Our recommendation is to include those products featured in the image. LCA digitised the iconic IKEA catalogue transforming IKEA’s scale of corporate sustainability value at the engagement rate 5x times higher than Shopping average. Driving incremental store visitation at ½ half the cost per SV of Shopping.


Local campaigns

IKEA was one of the first to pilot Local campaigns in the UK. This Cross-Google networks ad complemented our Omnichannel efforts like LIA, LCA, and Smart Shopping. It fully optimised towards integrated online + offline ROAS KPI. 

What we did

Local campaign worked the best when we used either eye-catching lifestyle or sales images with the text copy and Call-to-action button both encourage the user to come visit the store where special sales and IKEA Family Members’ events are happening. These interactive ads are extremely engaging across Google’s multi-network ad spaces Especially on Google Maps where our audience otherwise would have missed seeing the sales or events right on the app.


Results

We’ve seen incremental footfall at as low as ⅓ one third the cost per store visit of any average Shopping campaign at any given time for the past 2 years.

Greenwich

IKEA has recently opened its newest UK store in Greenwich, IKEA's most sustainable store ever. We used Local campaign to raise awareness. Over the opening months, we drove incredible volume of footfall at 1/20 of CpSV compared to its text ads campaign counterparts 60% of footfall were new customers who never visited IKEA before.


Geo experiment 

Seeing these incredible results, we were skeptical whether LC has been delivering incremental footfalls or people were just Googling for IKEA to come visit anyway. With Google’s engineering team, we conducted a Geo-experiment to fully validate the effectiveness of driving incremental store visitation that would not have happened without Local campaigns.

Results suggest that targeted IKEA stores saw an incremental increase in in-store sales by 4.5%. These additional sales translated into the Omnichannel ROAS 3x times higher than online ROAS.


Future: Store Sales Direct 

We’re not at the end of Omnichannel journey just yet. We’re tirelessly working on Store Sales Direct, an ultimate and ambitious tool to truly understand the currently untracked Omnichannel return on IKEA’s online investment by measuring offline in-store sales and revenue. So when someone googles “modern dining table” like I did 7 years ago. We’ll now be able to match the Search ad clicks to offline in-store purchases. By using CRM data, the IKEA Family Membership data. Ultimately, we’ll be able to make better strategic investment decisions, not only on Omnichannel fashion, but also on local level, store-by-store. 


Footfall is once again IKEA’s core KPI and success. Staying true to IKEA's spirit. Not only we can “Bring home to people”, we can also use the power of online to “Bring people home”.


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