Hardware Retailing

OCT 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | October 2017 60 Reasons My Wife Drives 115 Miles to IKEA 10 10 A s a writer for Hardware Retailing, I'm constantly on the lookout for retailers who do a great job merchandising their wares and providing outstanding customer service. So when I discovered that my wife and several friends and family members are willing to drive out of town and across a state line to shop at IKEA, I figured there had to be a reason. IKEA is a Swedish-based company known for its low-priced, ready-to-assemble furniture and sleek European designs. It only has about 44 stores in the United States. (Fortunately, one of those stores is opening in NRHA's hometown of Indianapolis this year, which will eliminate that 115-mile drive for my household). Why has this retailer gained an almost cultish following? IKEA has a lot to teach home improvement retailers about merchandising and the customer experience. Here are a few reasons why customers love IKEA so much. It's all about the customer. From the moment you walk into an IKEA store, one message is unmistakable: Customers are the most important people in the building. A greeter at the door offers each customer a shopping bag. Store maps guide customers through the maze of departments. Free in-store Wi-Fi for loyalty club members, inexpensive food, child care and free storage lockers also enhance the shopping experience. Every space is bright and colorful, inviting customers to shop. Pay a little, get style and quality. IKEA has firmly established a low-price image. Signage throughout the store explains that the lower costs are due to more efficient packaging and design, not lesser quality materials. Customers also shop IKEA for the European stylings of products they can't get anywhere else, which means customers can't price shop. Similar to Target, IKEA combines value pricing with style, maintaining a discount image without appearing cheap. 1 2 By Jesse Carleton, jcarleton@nrha.org Photos courtesy of IKEA

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