June 28, 2019 / Industry

I is for Ikea

girl with yellow background

Far from a simple furniture store, Ikea has cultivated a culture of innovation, sustainability and future thinking, with both employees and customers in mind. Found in over 50 countries, with 424 stores across the world (Nov 2018). Ikea’s big success is largely due to its constant drive for innovation and localised strategies.

Acknowledging that consumers are different around the world, Ikea tailors the experience to the need of a specific location.

From package design to specialised transport methods, Ikea puts emphasis on catering to different cultures.

For example in India, they offer delivery by tuk-tuks powered by solar energy; in Jakarta they have real-time traffic notifications to relieve congestion; and densely populated central London has small design studios which use AI to tailor products to the dimension of a room.

Investing in stores, London’s new Greenwich Ikea is the most sustainable store in the world. Using renewable energy, geothermal technology, upcycling, utilising landscaped gardens and partnering with local communities, Ikea is on its way to “becoming a more sustainable and circular business”.

Expected to embrace change, Ikea invests in their employees, regularly bringing together workers from different areas and departments to share new ideas, innovations and maintain a culture of transparency and collective creativity.

The significance of innovation lies at the heart of the company.

From the very first concept of flat-packing furniture, Ikea is always trying to ‘…create a better everyday life for the many’. The best example of this is SPACE10, an innovation lab funded by Ikea to help future-proof and better life for consumers. The lab has only been open a year but has started to inquire about concepts like energy harvesting furniture, air improving windows, urban farming, driverless cars and 3D food printing.

Recently releasing The Urban Village Project, Ikea looks at how to build sustainable, affordable and flexible living spaces that accommodate the heavily populated cities of the future. Shared living homes are becoming an increasingly more viable option, building community hubs at the core of their vision for homes of the future.

Ikea is an example of the way companies and brands should be future-proofing their businesses to ensure positive outcomes for both the consumer and the environment. Driving a company that values innovation will inspire both consumers and employees to adopt the needed cultural change that will ensure a more eco-friendly future.

Key Insights

  • Retail strategy should be localised. Incorporating the values and cultural needs is important in driving loyalty and creating a genuine connection with consumers within an area.
  • Embrace change. Brands should be looking to constantly evolve, predicting and tracking consumer trends, to gain insight into how to evolve in the future.
  • Companies should look to invest in innovation to better the world. Ikea’s investment in SPACE10 is leading the way for companies to not use sustainability for a marketing piece but to actually invest in the world ahead.

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