11 tips that a trip to IKEA taught us about web marketing and SEO
Ah, the joys of an IKEA trip… strolling through a strange world of fake living rooms and bedrooms, filling your trolley full of essential home accessories, followed of course by the all-important trip to the restaurant (nobody does meatballs quite like IKEA)! But on our most recent IKEA visit we found something even more useful than a Billy bookcase or a pot of lingonberry jam; inspiration on how to improve web marketing. No, they haven’t added a new SEO section to their catalogue; you’ll need to bear with us as we explain our thought processes on this, but we think you will find it very enlightening…
Inspiration can come from the most unexpected of places...
- What IKEA taught us about navigation
IKEA stores are all huge, and yet they are easy to navigate around. Each section is clearly signposted and there are maps available to help direct you to where you need to go. This is essential in a virtual space as well as a physical space- if customers can’t find the section they want to go to within your website, they won’t stick around for long.
- What IKEA taught us about data
Like many retail chains, IKEA collect data on customer behaviour and adapt their store layouts and selling processes accordingly. By analysing data on what products sell best, which times of day are busiest and how customers travel around the store you can then optimise the retail experience to improve sales- this is just as easy and just as important for online retailers to do when planning their website layout.
- What IKEA taught us about improving performance
When you take the time to analyse data you can find out how customers are finding your site, how they are using it and what they are purchasing. These insights offer invaluable feedback to you on how your website can perform better. IKEA have remained the biggest furniture retailer in the world thanks to their constant improvement, which is something than every company can emulate.
- What IKEA taught us about usability
IKEA set their stores out in a linear way so that customers can walk around the whole store; but they also include shortcuts so that customers can travel straight to the checkout whenever they want to. This user-friendly approach can be replicated in website design by making the site structure clear and adding calls to action at appropriate places within each page, so that users can easily find what they are looking for.
- What IKEA taught us about the importance of product demonstration
In most IKEA stores you will find a demonstration of products being tested to show the quality testing processes. They also showcase ready made ‘rooms’ within the store to show how different furniture items can be arranged together. By presenting products in this attractive way customers are able to visualise how each item might look in their own homes, and they get to actually try out a product – opening drawers, sitting on sofas etc.
This hands-on approach is obviously not possible on a website, but by providing customers with as much detail as possible such as demonstration videos, photos of products in use and information about how products are made, you are empowering them with information that will make them more likely to make a purchase.
- What IKEA taught us about anticipating customer needs
Placing similar products together is a no-brainer, but IKEA go one step further by placing complementary items with certain products- such as lightbulbs next to light fittings and batteries next to electrical items. You can anticipate customers’ needs online through website design too by adding links within your landing pages to other pages and blogs on your site that might be relevant to their search.
- What IKEA taught us about market analysis
With many of their furniture ranges, IKEA build products to a price. Based on their market research and the fact that they are targeting a wide audience, they need to make furniture that will suit a range of budgets. Therefore rather than pricing products after they have been designed, IKEA work backwards. They want to sell coffee tables at specific price points, such as one at £20, another at £50 and another at £100 so they will decide these prices then choose product materials and a design that matches that brief.
This initial research is vital when you are designing a product or a service- consider your target market, find out what they would expect to pay and then work around that. Offering different tiers is a great way for service providers to target a range of clients, as you can adjust the level of service and the cost to suit different requirements.
- What IKEA taught us about brand positioning
We’ve all heard of IKEA, and chances are we all own at least one piece of furniture from them. IKEA stores are also easy to spot- big blue shops with a huge logo, often close to motorways and main roads. In the same vein, if your website is within the first page of Google search results for your target search terms then brand awareness will improve. Employing SEO to help boost your website’s rankings on Google can in turn help to increase the amount of traffic to your website.
- What IKEA taught us about hosting and web speed
You might have to use your imagination for this one, but let’s compare the bandwidth of a website to the aisles of a shop. IKEA’s wide aisles and open plan store design mean that even on busy days you can still manoeuvre around the store easily. Whether they’re having to queue to get into a store or having to wait for a website to load, a customer’s reaction will be the same- they will get frustrated and most likely give up and go elsewhere.
- What IKEA taught us about efficiency
When you order an ice cream in IKEA you are given a cone so that you can use the ice cream machine to get it for yourself. By providing a machine they are cutting the staff time that would be required if they served the ice cream to you. This encouragement of customers to be self-sufficient is a useful reminder that you don’t have to do everything for your users. Providing a comprehensive FAQs page on your website so that customers can find answers to common queries themselves can help save your customer service team valuable time.
11. What IKEA taught us about customer support
When you sell a product or service it is easy to forget about the assistance that customers might need when using it. Providing support packages, installation assistance and complementary products offer the opportunity for you to upsell whilst also helping customers- making them more likely to have a positive experience of your brand. IKEA provide planning, fitting and delivery services for their products which you can sign up for easily in store.
As mentioned IKEA are the biggest furniture shop in the world but they do not rest on their laurels and presume future success will be theirs. They constantly test and improve. Your website and search marketing need to follow the same pattern if you want to get to the top of or stay at the top of the search engines. Contact us to find out more about you can improve your website with SEO.