The IKEA Difference
By Ryan Mathews, Founder, CEO, Black Monk Consulting
One thing most people seem to agree on is IKEA is not your average, run-of-the-mill retailer. In fact, being different from others is perhaps the most significant advantage the furniture retailer holds over the competition.
IKEA’s Group President Anders Dahlyig told an audience at the recent ECR Conference in Stockholm, the company has a goal to “…be different, not just better.”
Being different covers many areas, including the shopping experience itself, store design and layout, product quality, offering solutions for consumers and attracting the best in retailing talent to work in its stores.
A major difference at IKEA that applies to few others in the broad retailing community is a sense of fun when shopping. According to Mr. Dahlyig, IKEA gives its customers an enjoyable “day out.”
According to Mr. Dahlvig, IKEA “is not just about building a reputation, it’s about building a relationship with your customers.”
Another significant difference for IKEA is its ability to attract top talent to work in its stores, according to The Detroit News.
Retail workers from companies such as J.C. Penney and Bed, Bath & Beyond have found IKEA offers them greater opportunities to put their own ideas to work.
Melissa Jablonski, who previously worked at Penney, said that directives on merchandising displays from her former employer all “came from corporate.”
Pia Carli, a nine-year veteran of IKEA, said it is easy to understand why the retailer attracts workers from other companies. “There’s that IKEA mystique they want to participate in,” she said.
George Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, RetailWire contributed to this report.
Moderator’s Comment: Is IKEA really that different from other retailers? If yes, what differences do you believe make it the force it has become in retailing?
If no, why not? – Ryan Mathews – Moderator