Ikea opens new Melbourne store, here are 10 secrets to their success


…if you’re honest about it


Cutting corners doesn’t always work, but it can when you’re completely honest about it. Ikea has signs all around its warehouses, listing questions like, “Why do I have to build my own furniture?”, and “Why doesn’t Ikea deliver?”


Customers are less likely to be outraged about such cost cutting methods because Ikea is up-front about it. The company literally says, “If you make this yourself, it will be cheaper”.


Too many businesses try and hide their cost cutting. Ikea lays it right out in the open.


Learn the beauty of impulse buying


Walking through the Ikea showroom is a great example of how to set up shop, but it’s also a great example of opportunistic retailing. While most of the products are bulky, such as tables, beds and bookcases, you’ll also find smaller products littered throughout the displays.


This is an example of Ikea catering to two markets – those that are coming to buy a big piece of furniture, and those that are just coming to browse. No matter who you are, Ikea doesn’t want you walking away with nothing.


While you might not buy the $5,000 kitchen set, you may instead buy the nicely-designed crockery for $30. Instead of buying a new chest of drawers, you might instead be drawn to the $20 decorative lanterns.


Cheap doesn’t mean ugly


Just because your products are cheap doesn’t have to mean they’re ugly. Ikea puts a great deal of care into the design of its products and ensures they are shown in the best possible way – why do you think the lights are so bright inside?


Even if retailers don’t have a say over the final presentation of the products they are selling, they can still present them to show off their best features. People like good-looking products – a lower cost will be an added benefit.


Another added benefit of this is that Ikea products have now become iconic, and customers will be able to recognise the design of certain pieces of furniture wherever they go. It’s become so iconic that many furniture makers have tried to emulate Ikea’s design practices.


Keep the brand valuable


There aren’t many cities with more than one or two Ikea outlets. The lower number of stores not only decreases costs but also means consumers are forced to go out and make their way to a store that could be up to half an hour or an hour away. The lower amount of stores enhances the perception of value associated with the brand.


This also has the added benefit of making you feel like you need to buy something. After all, you don’t want to have come all this way and go back empty handed, do you?


Give customers something to do


There’s a reason why Ikea arms its shoppers with bags, catalogues and measuring tapes before they even enter the store – they want them to do something. You don’t want bored, passive shoppers. You want active, happy shoppers who are having fun interacting with your products.


This is also bolstered by the fact you don’t even pick anything up until the very end of the Ikea journey. Shoppers are free to walk around empty handed, content knowing they’ve found what they’ve wanted and can pick it up at their leisure.


Keeping the shopping invisible also means they’ll be more likely to buy.


This article first appeared on SmartCompany.

Since 2010 StartupSmart has been Australia’s no.1 publication for the startup community and those interested in the startup movement globally. Publishing news, information and advice daily, and placing itself squarely at the centre of the government’s national innovation agenda, StartupSmart is a leading participant in the momentum that surrounds the world’s focus on technology, creativity and entrepreneurialism.