IKEA – Boosting Sales with a Bot


Everyone loves IKEA, at least almost everyone. A visit to the store is a delightful experience. From having a simple dish with salmon, accompanied with their famous vegetable medallions or having a simple tasty almond cake with some coffee to browsing the beautifully arranged halls looking as if you are entering someone’s comfy home.

The whole experience is pleasing, engaging and surely doesn’t not feel as typical shopping one which, let’s admit it, can be quite frustrating.

But what about the online shopping experience… is it the same as the “offline” one…? Before going into details let’s have a look at the IKEA philosophy and business model…

The IKEA’s secret

Their motto is simple: “To create a better everyday life for the many people”. By August 2016, the company has 340 stores in 28 countries.

By no means, IKEA is the most recognizable furniture retailer. A visit to the store is incomparable experience as the homey feeling grabs you from the moment you enter the store.

The secret is in the whole experience offered to the customers. Browsing from a hall to hall feels like entering different homes, customers can feel the furniture and the whole store organization tells a story. A story that is relevant to all shop visitors so that they are immediately seeing themselves living in the arranged spaces.

IKEA’s pricing politics is also appealing to a great deal of people because the prices of the furniture are affordable. The products are basic, clean and are designed to appeal to various tastes.

IKEA’s online experience

As we were speaking about the physical visit to the store which is so delightful let’s have a look if the same experience is available online.

Currently, if you want to order products offline the whole process is no different from any other e-Commerce shop. You browse the products, you choose the ones you like and you order them. There is nothing wrong with that as the online experience does what it is supposed to do…

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But how a company offering such thoughtful in-store experience is opting for such an ordinary one online.

The Problem with online sales


Netguru, a Polish software company, noticed the difference in the online and offline shopping experience and defined the problem.

The problem was the vast discrepancy between the revenue generated from the mortar-and-brick stores and the one generated from the online sales.

Here is how they describe it:
“IKEA observed 2.1 billion visits on their website in 2016. This had influence on their revenue – an influence measured at around 1.4 billion euros. This means that the average online shopper spent 0.66 Euros, while the average offline shopper parted with 438 Euros….”

Problem 1:
You get lost in the massive product catalogue.
Give the online shopping process a human face.

Problem 2:
Products presented in isolation look lifeless and unconvincing.
Arrange products into spaces that tell stories and spark customers’ imagination.

Shopping made personal


To solve these two issues which have clear impact at the online revenue, the software company decided to use AI (artificial intelligence) in the form of an assist bot.

By creating Stephen the AssistBot, the company will offer this personal experience online that attracts people to IKEA’s physical stores.

From the moment you enter the home page of the retailer and start searching for anything,
Stephen the AssistBot will be delighted to give you a hand no matter if it is just simple information as opening hours, contact information or finding a new sofa. Stephen can also help by easing customers’ choices. Buying a sofa online can be quite pleasant as the bot will be helping by offering different choices.

The whole experience is far from the usual one that everyone is used in terms of online shopping. It feels like chatting with a friend and the conversation is friendly. More importantly, it takes the customer from point A to point B.

This kind of interaction is very much likely to end up in a sale for IKEA because it offers a different shopping experience, yet different from the one at physical stores, but still personalized one which makes browsing for a product as a friendly chat.

Boosting sales and handling requests with bots

As technology advances, a bot assistant for retailers and service providers is a quick way to handle customer requests. Even better, search online AI helper can be available 24/7 to satisfy the requests from your online visitors.
In IKEA’s case, the large difference between “offline” and online sales is a clear sign that the current website is not performing to the bar set by the physical stores.

Adding a chat bot to deal with requests and offer a pleasant product search experience is a very cheap investment which can transform into higher conversion rates.

It is not important if your business is small, medium or large. If your online sales are poor, it is worth trying to feature an online assistant to see how visitors will react to such interaction
A well-thought bot can boost sales and keep visitors engaged.

If you are curious, you can contact the team at WebAdviser.io for a personalized custom chatbot.

Read more about Netguru’s project.

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