What IKEA Taught Me About Marketing Automation

I spent the day today at Ikea with my family. We went with one purpose. To buy a desk for my home office. I looked online and I found one that suited.

With the mini van packed with 4 enthusiastic boys and the wife we headed off in search of a desk.

So we get to Ikea and the boys are already hungry. Doesn’t help that the food court is right at the entry.

A few minutes later and we have spent $40 on food to feed the family. Ikea are legendary. We hadn’t even started shopping yet.

Walking into the shop I find a predetermined route that Ikea has created for every shopper to walk through. We followed their path and by the end of the long ordeal we had seen every square inch of the massive warehouse.

Not only that, but we had a shopping bag filled with coloured paper, drawing pens the boys just absolutely needed, a foot stand, cutlery holder, 4 cans of Ikea pear cider, more pens, scissors and 4 iceream cones.

Oh and did I mention I was returning to purchase a dining room table that was on special.

Wow, they really now how to upsell.

This is what stood out to me about their customer journey that worked so well on us:

  1. On time promotion – We followed their path (sales journey) which showed us what we needed to see at the right time. For example, when we were hungry they showed us the food, and after 2 hours, they showed us the ice-cream, just when the boys were getting hungry again.
  2. Their journey not ours – We followed their predefined sales path that showed us what they had to offer in an ordered fashion. We walked through sections of the shop that were dedicated to different parts of the house, for example bathroom, bedroom, outdoors kitchen etc. Even though we didn’t think we needed items in most of these categories when we saw the solutions they offered we opted in for a few.
  3. Real time marketing automation – In a world where marketing automation software rules the online world, it was amazing to see Ikea doing marketing automation in real time on their shop floor. Marketing automation is where you send a predefined set of email to a prospect to move them along the buyers journey. Depending on their actions the emails sent will change to react to their behaviours. I see Ikea doing this is a very practical way. Pretty awesome for a mainly offline business.

It is interesting to see that marketing automation is not anything new. Yes the tools are new, but the practice is probably as old as the hills.

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