Swedish retail giant IKEA has been in the news lately for a few reasons. One of them is the discussion of exciting changes to their existing business model. IKEA might have been slow to move into online sales and home delivery, but responding to the lifestyles and needs of their customers is one of the company’s main aims. So, in order to meet the demand for online availability and affordable delivery costs, IKEA will soon be partnering with third-party websites such as Amazon to sell their furniture online.
The chief executive of Inter Ikea, Torbjörn Lööf, spoke to the Financial Times in October regarding this future move. Lööf did not actually specify any online retailers IKEA is looking to work with or a particular timeline for this development. Still, the chief executive did emphasize that it is “the biggest development in how consumers meet IKEA since the concept was founded.”
Changing the Game
This is major news for people who might not live within travelling distance of one of the 300+ warehouse stores IKEA currently has located across 41 countries. With its clean lines and DIY assembly, IKEA furniture revolutionized modern living for many people across the world. It is about time they embraced the digital age and became even more widely accessible.
In an effort to boost in-store sales, IKEA is also opening new physical stores in the UK. This will bring the total number of stores in the UK up to 22 by the end of 2018. However, this doesn’t address the massive turn-offs for potential IKEA customers. Who really wants to wander around the maze of a huge warehouse, then transport their chosen item back home and struggle to build it by themselves?
Another piece of IKEA’s recent buzzworthy news could be the answer to these issues. In September, the furniture retailer made headlines for purchasing the US start-up company TaskRabbit. Since it was founded in 2008 TaskRabbit has raised an admirable $50 million, and it employs around 60,000 “Taskers” who offer to complete tasks for customers. Tasks can include things like picking up shopping, walking the dog, or assembling furniture – which is where IKEA spotted an opportunity.
Services previously provided by IKEA were intended more for larger scale furniture installations, often with a steep price tag. Now with TaskRabbit, IKEA customers can buy their furniture from IKEA, then for as little as £20 someone will come and assemble it for them with guaranteed workmanship. Cut out some of that time-wasting stress by having a “Tasker” build your furniture for you. Or cut it out completely and order online to have the flat-pack furniture delivered to you as well!
At the moment TaskRabbit is only available in 39 cities across the US and in London, England. IKEA’s takeover of the company is a bold move towards satisfying the demand of IKEA customers, which suggests that the service will be expanding in the future. IKEA will likely be looking to cover more of its store location areas as well as popular delivery areas.
Lastly, IKEA has been provoking confused conversation for YouTube viewers. The newest addition to the “Where Life Happens” campaign for IKEA by agency Åkestam Holst is a series of pre-roll advertisements that play before YouTube videos. Most people click to skip to the actual video as soon as the option appears, meaning that brands need to grab your attention enough in those vital few seconds to make you keep watching their advert.
Flipping the script, IKEA’s new adverts are mundane situations that run for way longer than usual. In a reverse psychology twist, two teenagers awkwardly trying to make out tell you that you can skip to the video now and leave them to it. A bored teen washing the dishes asks if you don’t have something better to do. This tongue-in-cheek engagement with the audience sparks a stubborn curiosity. Even though nothing eventful is happening, viewers might actually try to watch for the full 5-8 minutes.
On one hand, these long adverts get people talking about how pointless they seem. On the other hand, they actually encourage viewers to keep watching in a subtle way. Bustle noted that IKEA customers enjoyed an ASMR advert released a few months ago, and the everyday sounds in these new adverts prompt a similar innate response. Either way, they are definitely memorable. Watch the features here if you think you can make it through all of them!