It is not many yellow and blue moons ago that the food proposition at IKEA revolved around the manifestation of meatballs, supported stoically by sausages in rolls and competitively priced ice-cream cones with a choice of 3 syrups.
Whilst these destination delights are fully preserved for both loyal patrons and new generations to discover, the market leading home retailer is evolving the variety of its culinary concepts to satisfy the voracious appetites of its customers’ demands whilst growing the already healthy size of its own profit waistbands.
Food concept expansion is running hand-in-hand with the wider evolution of physical store developments as smaller collection stores of less than a thousand square metres are accompanied close-by with complementary IKEA cafes for seating or take-away. Whilst benefitting from the IKEA traffic generated by its showcase sisters and the many meatball aficionados they attract, the cafes compete healthily enough within the food court context of shopping centres and bustling malls.
Equally within the latest large concept openings food has taken on a new importance and scale of activity. The traditional café continues to attract in its thousands with evolving menus and the introduction of themed weekends and evenings connecting food with seasonal soundbites of both local and international importance, from Christmas cuisine to regional repas.
As the space expands new concepts and environments are introduced for the visitor on a different shopping mission and time-scale. Coffee bars cater for the more sophisticated shopper and as destinations in their own right, with new atmospheres of intimacy created by clever screening and space segmentation. Not just showcases for new tastes and treats these areas offer a perfect opportunity to highlight and promote its core proposition as you sit and eat amongst the myriad of chairs, sofas and tables available in store.
And so never standing still, except it would seem to eat, the juggernaut of IKEA rumbles on through the heartlands and lifestyles of the world, embracing eagerly the opportunities to house and feed the mass-market millions.
The shopping journey for customers is changing to one that is now not just retail specific but involves leisure, eating and entertainment. Retailers need to evolve their physical proposition to embrace the customer experience in its widest context.
Is your customer bored with your retail experience?
Are you missing the opportunity to develop your assortment into entertainment or leisure?
Let VM-unleashed help you realise your new horizons…we have experience in helping you define your commercial strategies as well as delivering physical brand experiences.