IKEA: A Marketing Student’s Playground

By: Leah Poland

Red entrance sign spanning yellow awning of IKEA

On October 29, 2021, students in Mark Burgess’s Market Assessment and Analysis course visited IKEA–a store that has mastered the art of creating superior customer experience (CX).

My IKEA journey started by entering the parking lot across from Newark International airport. IKEA’s marketing strategy begins here, with numbered parking lanes making it easy to locate your vehicle.  The Swedish flag, along with many other flags, leads customers to the colorful, iconic entrance.  It goes without saying that IKEA centers its marketing strategies around customer experience from the very first step.

The beautiful, thought-provoking display of “flying books” surrounding a sofa welcomes the customer into the creative world of IKEA.  Customers can avoid shopping “hangry” by filling up on Swedish meatballs in the cafeteria and making their way to detailed room displays for every decorator.  Just follow the arrows on the floor and use the maps, which include shortcuts, to find what you need.   

Of course, IKEA knows what you need before you do. One living room display in particular featured accessories such as dog leashes and shoe racks.  The kitchen displays are fully equipped with cooking utensils and cookware as well.  Additionally, IKEA presents each room model with a short description or quote that helps customers relate to their brand purpose. students in masks sitting around fancy dining room table

IKEA’s exceptional marketing tactics have created a customer experience unlike any other, providing home goods for different target customers in a similar buying stage. Do you live in a 500 sq. ft. apartment, where it seems impossible to decorate such a small space? No problem! IKEA has the answer with its full apartment model.  And each room display features its own personality, from the cozy romantic to the band member desiring an edgy bedroom.  

Large signs are displayed throughout the store, with sustainability-focused slogans such as “Making Good Use of Wood!” and “We’ve switched to LED. And so can you!” The signs feature large, clear words to make the store easy to navigate.  Furthermore, the signs—which also feature prices—direct shoppers to IKEA’s blog for more information, which is a great demonstration of effective content marketing. Finally, IKEA makes a clear effort to improve customer experience with QR codes and interactive screens to make shopping easy. pale blue room with dim lighting yellow-paper chandeliers and tasteful furniture

I recently purchased my first home and felt a wave of comfort after my first IKEA experience—which certainly won’t be my last.  In the words of IKEA, “See you soon!”