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How IKEA evolved its consumer experience by integrating online and offline

blogJanuary 1, 2024 By Phillip Dyte

We previously covered on this blog how integrated experiences can increase relevance for consumers and Laurent Tiersen, Country Marketing Manager, IKEA UK & Ireland, discussed with us the brand’s constant focus on staying relevant to their consumers.

Today, let’s do a deep dive on how IKEA has developed one seamless experience, integrating online and offline in a multitude of services to ensure people spend their time in the best way before, during, and after their visit to the store. 

Stores have always been at the centre of IKEA’s differentiation, value proposition and customer experience. In its stores people can imagine what their home interiors could look like, discover new possibilities and plan to make them happen. Because of this essential role, IKEA doesn’t treat ecommerce as a simple alternative sales channel.  

Key areas of Ikea’s digital customer experience strategy

Bringing IKEA services in the living room 

Would that desk fit? Would this chair’s colour match with the wallpaper? How big would this footstool look in our living room? These are typical questions people ask when examining a piece of furniture in a store, and answering them can be a real leap of faith. To reduce multiple store visits, assembly time, and product returns, IKEA has developed a mobile application, Place.

Through augmented reality (AR), Place lets customers browse more than 2,200 items and see them in true- to-scale 3D representations of their homes. Place even makes it possible for customers to walk around the items and interact with them, all in AR. A customer looking to replace a piece of furniture with a similar model can simply take a picture of the item and the visual search engine within the app will suggest items from the IKEA catalogue.

Say Hej to IKEA Place - IKEA

Enhancing the store experience

IKEA has always put a lot of focus on their in-store experience. The company has recently been exploring a way for shoppers to learn more about its products through an IKEA world virtual reality experience at one of its store openings in Texas[i].

Although IKEA is experimenting with technology in-store, the brand makes it clear it is only to complement the human side of its shopping experience. As Gillian Drakeford, IKEA UK & Ireland Country Retail Manager puts it, “People want human interaction in-store. It’s what we’ve always done, but it’s enhanced by technology and expertise”.[ii]

  1. Using geolocated digital media to bring relevant solutions 

    IKEA is also pursuing smart approaches to local digital to increase relevance and impact among their customers. Although national campaigns work well for the master brand, people really want to hear about the stores close to them. IKEA uses local media to raise awareness of local store events. In one example, iProspect helped IKEA conduct a blind A/B test among a store’s local catchment area, using Facebook to beat the drum about a sale event. IKEA saw an 11% increase in store visitsamong those who had seen the ad, rising to 31% uplift among its crucial younger audiences. This had an ROI of 6:1. More recently, IKEA increased store visits elsewhere by 232%through paid search, demonstrating that relevant messaging combined with hyper-local targeting resonate with people’s needs, which directly translates to incremental in-store returns.  

     How Facebook Ads Can Drive In Store Footfall – IKEA and iProspect
  1. “iProspect’s innovative use of Search Ads 360’s most powerful features allows us to test out our products and focus on the geographical areas that best serve our stores.”[iii] Tania Douglas, Media Manager, UK & IE, IKEA UK, Google Marketing Platform, IKEA boosts ad spend ROI through Google Search Ads 360  
  2. Supporting customers after their purchase 

    Not everyone is a natural born furniture assembler or has the time and motivation required to put together bookshelf pieces. IKEA customers who prefer the help of a third party can go online to TaskRabbit, a platform the company acquired in 2017. This marketplace matches freelance labour with consumers looking for help with everyday tasks, such as moving, delivery and even handyman work. Through this complimentary service, IKEA has found a way to make its proposition relevant to a new fringe of consumers not willing to deal with self-assembly. 

    Do More With Us by TaskRabbit
  1. Increasing customer lifetime value 

In Austria, IKEA developed Second Chance, an online tool that allows owners of IKEA furniture to check residual values even after years of ownership – in real-time and only a few clicks. The tool taps into IKEA’s product database to deliver an estimation of the value of a certain furniture item according to its condition. The owner can then bring its piece of furniture to the local store in exchange for a voucher. This programme demonstrates to IKEA customers that their furniture pieces retain their value and last much longer than many people think. For IKEA, it brings people back into the stores and motivates them to buy again. 

For IKEA, this experience-driven approach is critical for maintaining the long-term relevance of its stores in the digital age.

This article is excerpted from Future Focus 2019: Searching for Trust. Download Future Focus 2019 for key insights and success stories on navigating truth and authenticity in 2019.


[i]Adweek, IKEA is stepping into virtual reality by creating a game for new store openings

[ii]The Telegraph, Ikea UK chief: ‘We have to ask what the role of the store is now’, February 2017