Business transformation
7 marketing strategies IKEA uses to increase online conversions
Business transformation

7 marketing strategies IKEA uses to increase online conversions

Written by

Rod Reynolds


October 9, 2023

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Ecommerce conversion rates in the furniture sector average around 0.5%, so how is IKEA able to convert customers at more than triple that benchmark? Read on to learn about the innovative marketing tactics behind the furniture giant’s success.

IKEA, the world’s largest furniture brand, hosted over 4.3 billion visitors online in 2022. Moreover, the brand boasts a higher-than-average conversion rate of 1.7%. 

Their secret? A unique marketing approach, one that creates a connection and engages their customers, encouraging them to make a purchase. This blog delves into the seven marketing strategies driving IKEA’s online success. 

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IKEA’s marketing strategies: 7 tactics you should know about

These are the pillars of IKEA’s marketing success:

Relationship marketing

IKEA moved away from transactional to relationship marketing in order to better connect with buyers. The company’s membership program, IKEA Family, offers workshops, discounts, and product insurance, to make shopping more appealing for buyers. 

As part of the IKEA Family initiative, stores were fitted with restaurants and play areas for children. Additionally, they offer a gift registry and an online forum, taking the shopping experience to the next level. But that is not all.

Furniture: ROCO

In recent years, the company has also revamped its home products to better cater to buyers’ tastes. And it has focused on improving its online shopping experience. Furthermore, the furniture chain contributes to community projects to strengthen buyer relationships. This includes campaigns to help children, homeless people, students, and the environment. 

And the brand ensures its staff and partners abide by their customer-centric values, asking its employees to focus on togetherness, cost-effectiveness, and enthusiasm, while working to cultivate a work environment that fosters these values. This then translates right down to every customer interaction.

Further underlining its credentials in the area, IKEA also has a code of conduct for its suppliers that aligns with customer interests. IKEA’s relationship marketing strategy has contributed strongly to the brand’s international success.

Google search ads

Along with relationship marketing, IKEA has invested in Search Ads on Google in the UK. First, the company segmented its customer accounts into categories based on their device preferences, before allocating budgets to each. It also used revenue records to categorize its products based on sales, then created adaptive shopping campaigns by grouping products with similar returns.

This approach allowed IKEA to market newer products and rearrange budgets, while also making retargeting easier. Thanks to these efforts, IKEA increased sales by 117% and return on ad spend (ROAS) by 68%.

Interactive storytelling

IKEA uses interactive storytelling to drive its online shopping experience, with its 2019 campaign “What’s Incredible is the Price” a prime example.

The furniture giant created a unique ad campaign incorporating footage from IKEA stores. Thanks to YouTube shopping, customers could view the product catalog and discount offers. They could also click on products to make purchases directly.

The interactive storytelling ad format allowed customers to have an in-store experience in their homes. This drove engagement, increased website visits, and improved conversions. The campaign achieved a 33% ad recall and a 33% view rate, with a ROAS of 460%.

Content marketing

IKEA’s content marketing strategy is characterized by creating posts optimized for different social channels. For instance, the company reshares blogs showcasing its community efforts via X (formerly Twitter), while focusing on home decor images on Instagram and boards on Pinterest.

Regional IKEA accounts share posts of their discounts or reshare posts made by their customers. In simple terms, IKEA only posts content optimized for specific social platforms.

That said, IKEA ensures its unique brand identity stands out in every form. Furthermore, the company tries to ensure the content is relatable and personable. This helps the brand stand out from its competitors and also helps drive conversions.

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Search engine optimization

IKEA optimizes its product pages according to the latest SEO guidelines, improving its visibility on search engines. It also uses product-specific keywords that align with buyer intent. This helps the brand rank higher on search engine results pages.

Research shows that most users don’t move past Google’s first page, underlining the importance of this ranking, and contributing to IKEA’s success in attracting more online visitors than its competitors.

Omnichannel marketing

IKEA goes the extra mile to ensure its in-store and website shopping experiences are cohesive. For instance, IKEA introduced its 'Click and Collect' service as early as 2015. Buyers could order online through the service and choose their closest IKEA store. Then, customer service would inform them when the order was ready for collection, saving the buyer time.

The customer experience here is quick. Moreover, it transitions between the website and the store in a seamless manner. This makes it convenient, reliable, and straightforward.

Interactive digital experiences

To improve its digital buying process further, IKEA introduced IKEA Place. This augmented reality (AR) application allows users to visualize furniture in their homes. Users can change object locations and view alternatives using the AR tool. This helps them choose a product with confidence and solidifies buying decisions, therefore helping drive online conversions more efficiently.

The furniture giant is also testing virtual reality (VR) to make its in-store experience immersive. 

‘With their new AI technology, we will bring home visualization to a different level. By letting you scan your home, one room at a time, and turn it into a 3D model in which you can try out the IKEA home product range from any location.’ Barbara Martin Coppolla, CDO, IKEA Retail in an HBR interview

2 furniture ecommerce businesses using IKEA’s marketing strategies (and how you can do it too)

Dunelm, a UK-based furniture retailer, focused on its omnichannel retail efforts across 2020. The brand sought to upgrade its technology, catered better to customer demands, and improved its delivery services. And that’s not all.

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The furniture retailer overhauled all of its consumer-facing activities. This included customer and web services, as well as self-help services to make shopping easier for the online buyer. As a result of these efforts, Dunelm saw an increase in online sales of 111% in its preliminary H1 FY2020/21 results.

How to improve omnichannel efforts

  • Map out the customer’s online journey. This helps clarify where customers spend their time, while delivering insights in how to best integrate these channels.
  • Undertake a content analysis to understand what content can be shared across channels. Also, ensure consistency of messaging and branding across all channels.
  • Expand digital capabilities to provide a seamless online shopping experience. This includes boosting server capacity where necessary, hiring more customer support staff, and managing online bots effectively.

One of the biggest advantages AR brings to the furniture industry is the way it can help buyers to make more confident buying decisions. That is one of the reasons Wayfair integrated 3D and AR into its customer journeys long ago.

The retailer offers a designated app incorporating the tech to make the online buyer’s experience immersive. Additionally, since customers are not required to shift between different tabs to use the AR tool, buying is seamless.

How to integrate 3D and AR into the buyer journey

  • Understand whether buyers use the website or the app for their purchases, in order to determine whether an app-based or web-based AR experience will be most effective.
  • Update your product catalogs to display all products designed to be viewable with AR functionality.

Contact Enhance to learn more about how to create memorable and user-friendly 3D and AR customer experiences.

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