A ‘wonderful everyday’ experience

Why Swedish DIY furniture specialist Ikea is taking an even more experiential approach to retailing


f you think about it, Ikea has actually been following the ‘experiential retailing’ strategy since the early 1960s when the company introduced – its now famous – in-store restaurants. But the brand has taken its understanding of today’s changing retail landscape one step further with the launch of two ‘planning studios’ in London, as part of its new global city centre approach.

The first ‘mini’ Ikea store opened on

Tottenham Court Road last October, followed by a second on Bromley high street earlier this year. Specialising in kitchens and bedrooms, both stores have been specifically designed to enhance the consumer’s experience by offering a more tailored and personal service than you’d expect to find in Ikea’s larger, out-of-town stores. “Our new city-centre approach brings Ikea into the heart of London and is designed to complement our larger stores and digital offering, so customers have a wide range of choices that suit their needs and lifestyles,” explains Jane Bisset, Ikea London city centre market leader. “The studio on Tottenham Court

Road gives Londoners a relaxed and professional experience to get the advice and inspiration they need to plan more complex or large-scale home projects, with the expertise and specialist support of our co-workers, alongside a great service package.” With its studio in Bromley, Ikea has enhanced its focus on experiential retailing with the introduction of a community room, which the local community can use to host events, workshops, meetings and training. It has also considered the hospitality of

angle experiential retailing by

including soft seating across the store to ensure customers have plenty of space in which to relax, plus a live demo kitchen (pictured) for food activities and events. “We gathered insights to ensure the Bromley planning studio reflected the needs of the local community,” explains Bisset. “We identified that kitchens are no longer just for cooking, but a multi-use space for socialising, work and more. We can also see from the local area that open-plan living is on the rise, so we knew we had to create an inspiring offering, that would help people make the most of every space.”

Stars of the big

screen W

Digital displays at Marks Electrical in Leicester let customers experience the entire Fisher and Paykel range at – almost – life size

ith all the various product configurations and features in the white-goods sector, it is difficult to see every option in one showroom. However, with the use of the large, digital

screens in Fisher and Paykel’s Retail 2.0 display, Marks Electrical can create a space for customers to see a full range of products at almost real-life size. “Customers are immediately ‘wowed’ when they see the display,” says Mark Smithson, managing director of Marks Electrical. “It serves as an excellent demonstration tool that allows our team to show customers the design inspiration behind Fisher and Paykel’s products. Equally, customers can easily navigate the system themselves should they want to browse alone. “For us, the biggest benefit has been having the tool to show customers

the entire range in a more interactive and memorable format compared with just a brochure.”

At Marks Electrical, the display has been used as a demonstration tool for the retailer, as well as a way for customers to get to grips with the products independently. The experience is far more immersive and interesting than simply browsing a catalogue, according to Smithson.

Creating an experiential showroom is about understating the psychology of shoppers. One huge issue for retailers is shoppers doing price comparisons on other sites while in-store – as they will be looking at the item in real life, but looking for a better deal online. However, the Retail 2.0 display has helped reduce this problem and Smithson says: “The screen element of the display is fantastic in that its immersive nature takes away the customer’s urge to use their own devices to check prices online while in-store. Additionally, there is an interactive element in which customers can check prices of all products in-store via a QR code system linked to our website. It’s a full 360° journey.

An engaging and memorable experience is a key part of the customer journey

“An engaging and memorable experience is a key part of the customer journey.

It’s essentially what sets independents apart from the larger chain retailers who are not so focused on one brand or sector of the market and therefore do not invest in the consumer experience of one single brand in-store. “Additionally, as an independent retailer, we are up against the large online retailers, which is why it’s key for our business that we are omni-channel – offering both a bricks-and-mortar showroom and an online store to service our customer base.”

The team at Fisher and Paykel has been working on this type of display for

three years as a way to make sure customers can interact with their products in a meaningful way. The display is a mix of the giant screens and a collection of some of Fisher and Paykel’s hero products in the modern and eye-catching black and real steel colourways. David Woollcott, managing director of Fisher and Paykel Appliances UK, Ireland and Europe, said: “It is designed to ensure that consumers can easily engage with our product and we, as well as our retail partners, are excited to make this industry step-change.”


• For more tips and advice on creating a destination store, see our retailer profiles on pages 70–72 and 75–78

38 kbbreview · June 2019

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