Marketing, in this era of globalization, has provided the field of business with a great opportunity to expand in every accessible place on earth and attain global recognition. Not only has it benefitted the business to enlarge their customer base, but also helped them build a better brand image, recognition and competition which thrives all businesses to reach the top.
IKEA has been the favorite amongst customers in the ready to assemble furniture industry. It manufactures well designed ready to assemble furniture, appliances and household goods.
In 1963, it expanded outside Sweden, taking a step towards internationalization with the vision “At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people.”
A large part of the credit for IKEA’s global recognition goes to their marketing. IKEA has three main marketing objectives:
Obtain 10,000 first time visitors to the IKEA showroom within one year of implementation.
Increase online sales by 15% within one year of implementation.
Achieve a 10% return rate with newly acquired customers.
(Butler, S. 2019)
This idea of IKEA to start with a refurbished furniture line seems to be really effective in the current market situation because consumers are inclining towards the use of eco-friendly and recycled product and the customer base in this industry is growing faster.
IKEA’s working methods consists of the Laissez-faire leadership style. (IKEA /US/EN, 2019)
This leadership style involves minimal participation from the leader, whilst the employees use their creativity and efforts. IKEA just provides the employees with tools whilst construction of ideas is left upon them.
This results in internal marketing as the employees get an opportunity to develop with the help of IKEA’s activities and working policies and this influences the marketing team to come up with new and innovative ideas.
IKEA also incorporates the theory of Triple Bottom Line very effectively. The triple bottom line comprises of social, environmental and profit considerations for a good brand image and corporate citizenship (Elliott, 2017, pg. 19).
Corporate Social Responsibility refers to the ethical activities practiced by organisations which along with providing them with profits, benefits the society and environment as a whole. Such ethical considerations spread the word around customers about the firm’s ethical beliefs and hence, causes a word of mouth method of promotion and influences the marketing externally.
IKEA’s Triple Bottom Line is perfect for marketing as IKEA can inform people about its environmental and social considerations which contribute towards its ethical image and this can be done via television commercials and on product prints. IKEA however, has proven itself really well in areas of ethical practices on its website, the same place where customers can shop online (Ikea.com, 2019). This means that as the customers wish to shop from IKEA online, they can also see how IKEA has been socially responsible and this is a great marketing strategy as it influences the customers to buy IKEA products, thinking that their purchases would contribute in IKEA’s efforts towards its social responsibilities.
IKEA’s use of renewable sources of energy in its economic considerations of the Triple Bottom Line also help in marketing its products like solar panels as they can let people know about the benefits of its products like solar panels which would sound trustworthy as IKEA itself uses it.
To further analyze IKEA’s internal and external aspects, SWOT analysis – an analytical tool which helps to scrutinize the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of an organization – has been used below.
The strengths that IKEA possesses are ideal for a successful organization. Having a strong brand value as IKEA’s, marketing becomes easier as the customer base is large and trusts the organization. As its leadership style is Laissez-faire, workers are always motivated to market innovatively. The launch of ‘bath boats’ could be a great example for this (McCarthy, 2019). Since its products are designed uniquely, they stand out in the market and give IKEA an upper hand in terms of preference, over its competitors, American Woodmark and Amazon.
IKEA has a few weak points too. IKEA has also been in the bad names’ list for its ‘all men’ catalogue released in Israel which portrayed Israel’s “ultra-orthodox Jews and their increasingly stringent modesty norms” (Chabin, 2019).
IKEA’s opportunities are clich? but threats are really concerning. The increasing scarcity of wood results in high taxes on it which increases the production cost for its products and this is an endless threat as wood consumption increases with every passing day.
IKEA also has competitors like American Woodmark and Amazon that sell low price products, and this is what influenced IKEA’s marketing team to get innovative with its product design. However, Amazon has recently launched two new furniture brands to compete against IKEA, namely, ‘Rivet’ and ‘Stone & Beam.’ Rivet focuses more on Urban and small space solutions whereas Stone & Beam focuses on the modern family house providing comfort and durability (Green, 2019). This helps Amazon to target the markets in a much effective way, as both the brands specialize in specific purposes. But these brands have not gained as much recognition as IKEA and IKEA’s years of establishment provides security and trust amongst its customers. This is exactly what IKEA has been willing to maintain with its high quality and low priced products and markets them in the most aggressive way possible which in terms of business, is called ‘Guerilla Marketing,’ Bath Boats being an example for the same.
All in all, IKEA’s marketing portfolio consists of highly innovative products, low prices, and unique methods of promotion which makes IKEA an ideal and difficult competitor in the market. One reason why IKEA’s competitors have never been a real threat is because its reach, and methods of reach to its customers is mindboggling which makes IKEA on of its kind.
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