Experiential Shoppers and Meatballs – An Ideal Combination?

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Experiential Shoppers and Meatballs – An Ideal Combination?

To understand your shoppers, you need to know who they are, and how they buy. In our last blog we discussed how well you know your shoppers, doing so in terms of the five modes of shopping we experience.

We know that the experiential shopper uses their senses as much as possible to experience an item. As well as looking at it, they also smell and touch it, experiencing the product as much as possible before making a final decision.

IKEA gives the experiential shopper a whole world of product to explore and experience. Shoppers wander around, getting lost in a maze of kitchen set ups, opening draws, walking over rugs and sitting in chairs. Many of these shoppers also take a visit to the in-store café, before attempting to track down any chosen flatpack furniture for a future assembly attempt. So, with recent rumours of an IKEA expansion, further exploration of experiential shoppers seemed an appropriate response.

What Do We Know

IKEA are considering a standalone restaurant. Customers would be able enjoy the classic meatballs and chips, without setting foot near a flat pack cupboard. At first there was shock. IKEA themselves have said 30% of their customers go there to eat and so there is certainly a customer base for an IKEA restaurant. However, giving these shoppers a reason NOT to go into the store seems risky.

Head of food operations, Gerd Diewald has said, “We’ve always called the meatballs ‘the best sofa-seller’”. So why are they considering it?

The simple answer is that IKEA deem it a risk work taking. They have seen a market opportunity with a new profit source; really it would be unwise of them to not at least consider the opportunities it holds.

More Than Just Meatballs

IKEA stores are already known for the experience they offer, there seems no reason as to why their restaurants couldn’t be known for that too. In fact, a standalone restaurant may be the perfect opportunity to enhance their customers’ experience. The move would give IKEA a unique chance to provide customers with a genuine, real-world experience of their products. Patrons would be sitting on an IKEA chair, at an IKEA table, eating off an IKEA plate with IKEA cutlery… you get the idea.

Sneaky? Not really. Shoppers want to try before they buy, what better way to trial possible furniture than to use it as you would at home, to sit and eat. La Cour, the Managing Director of IKEA has said, “I hope in a few years our customers will be saying, ‘IKEA is a great place to eat — and, by the way, they also sell some furniture.’”

With successful pop up shops in London and Paris an IKEA restaurant expansion could lead to a whole new way of experiential shopping, although no plans have yet been finalised.

Shoppers needs are quickly evolving, for an in-depth discussion on Shopper Modes read our previous blog here. SBXL specialise in analysing real shoppers, really shopping. To find out more contact us on 01543 258189 or email info@sbxl.com