Real-World Business

IKEA and the Customer Journey

Thinking ahead -  so the customer doesn’t have to

Technology companies want to provide simple and easy-to-use functionality to their customers. They want to design products that are intuitive, that iron out the complexity of otherwise complicated tasks. That’s why there’s been a technological revolution over the past 30 years. Many of the principles that underscore why technology firms do this comes from design thinking - designing products that are so simple that it abstracts away any notion of effort or thinking from the customer themselves.

IKEA’s actual, physical journey

In IKEA, you know where to find what you’re looking for, and you’re always happy to pass through literally every department your way there. Along the way, you find things you didn’t even remember you needed  — the sequencing of the store just makes sense. That “yellow brick road” is quite literally a customer journey – a simple one perhaps, but with more than one lesson to teach us about designing fluid, compelling, and valuable customer journeys for a broad range of applications across a diverse set of verticals.

Behind the scenes of IKEA’s seamless customer journey is an entire company dedicated to perfect orchestration — from the design of each “section” of the store, to their website, to the company’s mailers and even instruction manuals. At the highest level of IKEA’s customer journey, experts deconstruct the physical journey into an order of operations that makes intuitive sense to the consumer, to ensure the orchestration of a well-thought out, seamless customer journey.

It doesn't just makes sense - it has to

When you walk through an ikea, you are led along by arrows that will bring you past things you may want to purchase. Coming across various home goods, the flow from room to room features products that are meant to compliment one another. It does take some time to get through, but from a business perspective this makes sense - they want you to have an opportunity to evaluate all of their merchandise. At the end, you’ll come across an area where you can purchase their famous swedish meatballs, which, after a long journey, will be more than welcome by most customers.

The whole point is this - customer journeys need to make sense, but even more than that, it is on the organization taking them along that journey to design them. They need to take every detail into account when moving a customer along the way in order to maximize that customer’s success in completing a journey. If they’re not able to do that in an efficient and effective way, they will lose out on business to competitors. Thankfully, there are technologies that can help them along the way.