The retailer’s Ottawa location was chosen to be part of a global test pilot, which also includes IKEA stores in Cardiff, U.K., Abu Dhabi and Budapest.
The “localized living room solution” initiative is part of IKEA’s “Life at Home” strategy, which aims to build a deep understanding of people’s real lives at home.
“Through our ‘life at home’ work, what we’ve done now is said we really need to mirror the local market and we want our customers to connect emotionally,” said Rob Kelly, country sales manager at IKEA Canada.
The aim of the new living room solutions program is to offer customers design inspiration and solutions they can relate to. “We’re making sure we have the right products being displayed in the right way, so consumers connect with that and say, ‘IKEA understands me,’” said Kelly.
As part of its Ottawa research effort, IKEA interviewed more than 200 people in store, asking them what they’re looking for, how it fits with their lives and what their concerns are. IKEA also conducts home visits across the country to understand what customers in different markets need, and the Ottawa store drew on local insights from that effort as well.
The result is 11 living room vignettes divided into three Ottawa neighbourhoods, reflecting the style and layouts of homes in each area. “We want people to feel at home when they’re in the room and say, ‘that’s where our staircase is, or yeah, that’s where the fireplace is,’” said Kelly.
There’s also a living room setup that mirrors a local condominium layout. In addition, all the merchandising is based on the style preferences in the Ottawa market and what people are looking for, said Kelly.
Kelly said IKEA would track sales, do more customer surveys and make tweaks to the program. “Once we do that and everything is good to go, our plan is to roll it out across the country.”