Ikea studying customization
Ray Allegrezza -- Furniture Today, November 26, 2012
If you channel surf, you've probably seen "Pimp My Ride." That's the TV series that features a beat up car that not only gets a full restoration, but also gets totally customized (a.k.a. pimped out).
After reading an interesting article last week, I may have found our industry's version - "Pimp My Ikea."
Knowing that Ikea customers have no qualms about assembling much of what they buy from the retailer, the company's manager of design now wants to engage the customer even more deeply by allowing them to customize some of their purchases before buying them.
In the article, Ikea's Marcus Engman said, "Having customers doing some of the job is nothing new. Historically, that has been about them assembling the products to keep prices low. But I believe in letting them take part also in the creative work." His idea is "to allow shoppers to turn an Ikea product, which will probably always be mass produced, into their own unique thing. I think this will be important for us going forward."
If Engman can make this happen, Ikea customers would be able to do things like customize a sofa, or even create their own fabric patterns.
While he could not give a firm timeline, he did say that while Ikea is not that far away from having the technology to make this possible, the retailer also wants to ensure it can do this and still keep pricing low.
In the event you don't think that will resonate with consumers, here is a portion of a blog I came across that dealt with buying furniture. It noted that a big frustration about shopping for furniture, online and offline, is finding the perfect item. "Often, you come close, but there is usually some little thing that you don't like," the blogger wrote, adding, "And as many experienced shoppers have already found out, trying to get that simple little thing changed is like trying to move a mountain."
Stay tuned - Ikea may soon be in the mountain moving business.