Furniture marketing is peculiar for certain reasons. First is that for customers buying furniture this is often emotional and exciting. Second is that this process, when online can take time – there is no way to literally “try on” or test an item. And third is that quality furniture costs money, almost like a small investment in some cases – the AOV in this niche is one of the highest, which makes a customer think every purchase over again before finally making a purchase. For marketers, it’s extremely important to make the customer feel safe with the choice they are going to make and support them on their way to the decision. In this article, we’ll review the channels and assets that we recommend using for online furniture stores and show how they also became an essential part of Ikea marketing strategy.
Since buying online became a necessity in 2020, whenever a consumer needs a new sofa, TV-set, kitchen curtains, chest of drawers, they no longer (or less frequently) had the opportunity to visit brick and mortar stores to feel the fabric a product is made of, test the quality of wood or make sure a specific colour matches the walls in their living room. Common sense would indicate that the number of purchases within the furniture niche may have decreased as people would wish to wait until their regular offline purchases of furniture is back to normal, while in reality, people adapted and found benefits from the spare time the pandemic brought, and decided to renovate their homes.
In 2020, IKEA.com was visited a total of four billion times worldwide. This is an increase of over one billion clicks compared to the previous year”. Statista
We all know the IKEA brand. And of course, a category-killer like this is rather reaping the benefits of their name, while small local stores in this niche yet have to make a dozen of mistakes until they find the way to the hearts of their target audience. But let’s learn from the best and learn how IKEA makes the most from email, content and remarketing tools.
IKEA marketing strategy: email
If you are already signed up to their newsletter from ikea.com, you’ve definitely noticed how personalised their emails are. Let’s figure out how they let people receive exactly what they are searching for.
Everyone wants to subscribe to Ikea’s newsletter
Surprised? We share your feelings. If a physical old-school mailbox existed in the digital era, it would probably look as big as your parent’s cottage house. On average, people receive 121 emails daily – who would ever need another one in their inbox? But when it comes to IKEA’s newsletter, everyone who is potentially interested in buying from them or even occasionally browse searching inspirational tips on home decor wants to subscribe.
First, we need to mention that there are several ways to subscribe to IKEA’s newsletter:
- Through a printed or digital catalogue
- Though social networks
- On the ikea.com website
Once you are subscribed, you automatically get access to all the bonuses IKEA offers to customers as a part of their loyalty program.
Audience segmentation is a key asset to return the right content in front of the right people. Not to travel far, segmentation by region starts at the same spot as the user journey starts, i.e. on IKEA’s home page.
Once the location is selected, IKEA knows your language, how cold the winters in your region are, when your national holidays start and what’s in demand with millions of people located near you.
Knowing you even better than your Mom does
Analytic tools provide a number of ways to detect specific patterns of local audiences. You just need to set up and tailor the settings to fit your needs, make sure to integrate data from your CRM with the analytic tool you chose. But in order to make real personalisation work for your online store, you can try asking questions the same way you would when making friends with someone new. And this goes far more than just asking your audience their age and gender (which IKEA does as well). Just look at the questions IKEA asks when a customer is creating an account on their website.
What do they do with all this information? Of course, they make the most of it sending very personalised emails. For example, if they know you are planning to get married, they may send ideas how to decorate your wedding ceremony location; if you have children, they will notify you about discounts on their children’s collection; if you are renting a flat, you are likely to receive tips on organising home space; if you are planning a kitchen remodel, they will suggest IKEA’s installation services and many more opportunities.
Now, when the store you love to shop from knows you literally better than your Mom does, it’s time to receive targeted emails.
In the niches where taking decisions usually takes longer, it’s extremely important to keep in touch with customers letting them know you are caring about them. Sending target emails is a go-to solution to remind your audience about yourself and along with that show you don’t want to waste their time, this is why everything you offer is a direct response to their need.
For example, knowing you are a 25 y.o. man living in a rented flat (and of course, you are not married) IKEA correctly takes an educated guess that you are a football fan. Such assumptions help to choose the right time and occasion to reach out to specific audiences.
The image below shows how, as a part of the IKEA marketing strategy, the store sends an email offering a discount on their media storage solutions right before the Super Bowl season started. The same way, a 36 y.o. married woman with children is likely to receive a special Mothers Day offer or a promotional email with a selection of desks in terms of a Back to School campaign.
There are hundreds of reasons to reach out to your customers: bank and national holidays, current political events like the President’s election or the pandemic (which everyone is pretty much fed up with). The only thing marketers need to bear in mind is that there is a fine line between the right amount of emails arriving at the right time and the inaccurate email campaigns simply resembling non-stop spamming. Careful analysis of email marketing campaigns is obviously a top priority at IKEA, that is why customers are likely to accept the offers rather than be irritated and unsubscribe from the newsletter.
IKEA Canada campaigns data provided by Mailcharts
Retention & acquisition via email
Abandoned cart emails in this niche bring about 20-25% of traffic, but at the same time generate up to 60% of the total revenue. But cart abandonment shouldn’t be the only reason of your email campaigns. Among the other occasions and topics are:
- A selection of items up to $24.99 for a studio;
- An outlet sale;
- “The last chance to buy” emails;
- “Special prices on all the items of the Outdoor section”;
- “A secret code to get your 5% discount”;
- “Tips on choosing your best sofa”.
Svitlana Fursa, Email Marketing Team Lead at Promodo: We recommend not to restrict yourself by displaying just a couple of categories in one email. While a customer is choosing their best sofa (which is a big deal, by the way), they might suddenly switch to an emotional purchase of a standing lamp, rug or a cushion at a good price. That’s why a selection of “You may also like…” and “Check what we’ve got for you…” often look like occasion emails.
The furniture niche has 20-50% profitability margin and a high AOV, which allows companies to introduce discounts during the very first order. This can be done using an easy contact form widget on the website – all the users who used the widget to leave their contact address, both get the discount and get to the database used for email campaigns. As a result, an easy contact form widget is a main source of new customers and revenue from this channel”.
IKEA marketing strategy: content
If you aspire to bring customers one step closer to the decision, another especially important thing is creating useful and engaging content and distributing it in a right way.
Content is everywhere
IKEA is known to be a king of content marketing and this is no surprise. Graphic content is embedded everywhere in their digital marketing strategy: products, blog, YouTube.
Your website is a smart idea to show customers how your products will look in real life. Grouping the items together on the layouts is not only visually aesthetic, but useful and profitable. Presenting a visual example of how furniture items from your store can work together in a living-room not only give an idea of furnishing & decorating the flat, but increases the chance to upsell at no additional cost from you and extra actions from your customers.
At the IKEA’s website most of the furniture items are clickable, which makes it easy for customers to check the price and add them to cart in one click
IKEA’s “Life at home blog” is another spot of inspiration and a way to spread the brand’s philosophy all over the globe.
Blogging provides a range of benefits to your eCommerce store: it could be located on a different domain or be a part of your website. The latter will be beneficial for small and mid-sized stores, as additional pages with the relevant content quickly gain trust of Google bot and interest from the target audience.
The blog by IKEA does not sell anything, but is apparently appealing to those interested in work-life balance and spending leisure time with pleasure, which are the main brand values.
See an example of the cooking article written by IKEA.
What do you expect to see on IKEA’s YouTube channel? Guides & how-to videos? Smart ideas & inspirational videos? Interviews? Triple “yes”. As a part of IKEA marketing strategy, they are making the most of YouTube and create super-informative video-instructions like the one below.
We highly recommend making Youtube a part of your marketing strategy in this niche. With the help of video content, you can show people how they can interact with your products in real life, help to understand if the installation will require any additional efforts, give ideas on organising the home space, let the audience meet your team and get to know more of your values.
Making the most of social media
According to SimilarWeb, ikea.com received about 41% of social traffic from YouTube (which only proves the benefits of this channel in the furniture niche), 24% from Facebook, 11% from Reddit and almost 9% of traffic come from Pinterest.
While the share of Youtube and Facebook are rather obvious, we would like to draw your attention to Reddit and Pinterest, which are usually less popular among marketers.
What is good about Reddit?
Reddit is a social network or rather forum where registered users leave comments, links and their rating of certain products and services. It’s especially popular among the US users. Represented there, Ikea demonstrates a unique proximity to consumers of the brand. Customer reviews may sometimes sound really disapproving, but that’s what makes Ikea popular. Moreover, such an approach is another way of gathering a community, which in the long run means loyalty.
Reddit promotion is suitable not only with the well-known brands, but also to increasing brand awareness of small and medium-sized companies, increasing user loyalty, and even increasing conversions. The main thing is to find subreddits or branches with your audience, and popular topics on reddit, as in life, are advice, education, sports, nutrition, technology
Ikea’s official page unites 57.7k followers registered with Reddit. By answering the questions posted by the platform users, IKEA’s representatives demonstrate their credibility, thus growing customer loyalty. Creating a page like this allows small and mid-sized businesses “to test” user’s reactions to the new products, create surveys, advertise certain products – a great way to increase sales. The below screenshot demonstrates the traffic received by the IKEA subreddit.
Crowd marketing on the platform, works with customers who are exploring relevant topics, want to help other users to make the choice or provide advice. To illustrate why this is useful, we show another screenshot from Ahrefs.
Here you can see that 841 backlinks are coming to IKEA’s website from Reddit, and a topic “what pc desk would you all recommend” gets roughly 1,616 monthly users.
Making Reddit a part of the marketing strategy is a good idea not only among the well-known brands. It can be used to increase brand awareness and grow customer loyalty (and even conversions on the website) by small and medium-sized companies. Just make sure to find subreddits or branches and topics popular among your audience on Reddit”.
IKEA literally has their catalogue on Pinterest! The new arrivals, special offers, decoration tips are included, and each picture is a getaway to IKEA’s website. People can leave comments or just turn over the bright pages the same way they would do with a printed catalogue. What a smart way to market online!
Remarketing as a part of IKEA’s digital strategy
The last but not the least part of IKEA marketing strategy we’d like to cover is the use of remarketing, another powerful asset that is worth considering if you are marketing furniture and getting a decision from customers takes time.
Did you know: 96.7 % of people will leave your website site or app without buying anything? Creating remarketing lists and running email campaigns based on customer behaviour is a way to re-engage with past visitors and push them down the sales funnel to purchase.
And now, in the times of uncertainty, when users’ decision in the furniture niche takes even more, remarketing is an integral part of online advertising. The point where furniture and remarketing overlap is the importance of visual content. That is why banner ads would be the best choice in this niche, – bright image, branded design, special offers (for example, for users who have not completed the checkout or the form filling stage), testing different types of banners will help bring the user closer to the target action”.
Decisions take time. Decisions to buy furniture may take even more time, as customers need to weigh all the pros and cons, search forums, check other buyers’ reviews, go to Youtube and even check Pinterest some times. Marketers’ major task in this process is to be patient and not to forget to remind themselves via different channels.
In this article we decided to refer to IKEA marketing strategy and learn how small and mid-sized businesses can benefit from the combination of marketing channels used by the Swedish category-killer.
A wise combination of email marketing, content distributed via social channels and remarketing tools can help achieve both high traffic & revenue indicators, increase brand awareness and grow customer loyalty.
If you are willing to squeeze out the maximum of digital marketing channels, we are here to give a hand and help you become as great as IKEA 😉