On the face of it, a mid-market out-of-town furniture retailer would seem to be a prime candidate for suffering from the same wave of disruption that has hit the high street. Ikea, however, appears to be fully aware of the need to innovate constantly, and is committed to that course of action. It extends both to the shopping experience and its approach to sustainability.
The new ‘planning studio’ format, for example, has broadened Ikea’s offer into small, city-centre stores providing specialist advice and inspiration. And it has announced its intention to roll out a furniture rental service to all its major markets.
Meanwhile, the retailer has made a number of environmental commitments, including a promise to phase out all single-use plastics from its products and stores by 2020. Its new store in Greenwich has adopted sustainable energy sources while offering a bike courier service and educational materials to encourage customers to reuse and ‘upcycle’ their furniture.
Each of these steps Ikea has taken have contributed positively to both commercial and brand metrics, and these were key considerations for the Marketing Week Masters awards judges, who used analysis by YouGov in their decision to shortlist Ikea for Brand of the Year.
Notably, the brand’s sustainability commitments are resonating with its target market, as according to YouGov the typical Ikea fan is more likely than the average UK consumer to say sustainability in retail is an important issue. Ikea fans are also more likely to recycle plastic, with 91% claiming they do so often or almost all the time, compared with 87% of the general population.
The company has succeeded in putting itself in an incredibly strong market position, YouGov’s data shows. Ikea’s consideration, purchase intent and positive buzz scores are all far higher than the average scores of the brand’s competitors in the UK.
This data means its current commercial success should not come as a surprise. The retailer’s UK revenue rose by 5.9% to £1.96bn in 2018, with online sales up 14.4% and website visits up 13.4% to just shy of 200 million.
Far from being caught up in the mire of retail disruption, Ikea is succeeding in rising above it with a strong positioning and constant attention to keeping its customer experience on a par with the best.
The winners of Marketing Week’s Masters will be unveiled during a ceremony held at The Brewery in London on 2 October. For more information on the event and table bookings head to marketingweekmasters.com.