Anyone who has shopped at IKEA knows that it is a retail experience unlike any other. IKEA is known for its focus on customer service, which it has evolved and optimised over many years through its renowned innovation, employee relations, cost control and operational excellence. Similarly the design and high quality of its products, together with its very competitive pricing, have made it a market leader.
IKEA Switzerland embarked on a program to bring digital signage to its nine stores (the company’s St. Gallen store had been a digital signage user for some six years) to further enhance the customer experience, and to bring the latest technology to its internal communications, complementing the signage that the UK operations had similarly adopted. IKEA in the UK had already undertaken such an investment. Scala partner Kilchenmann was selected to deploy the project in Switzerland.
IKEA Switzerland set about installing 128 screens throughout its nine properties. Of these, the large majority of the screens are in customer-facing parts of the stores, but a number are also located ‘behind the scenes’ to enable communication with the company’s employees.
The installation is being continuously refined as the company optimises the network through ongoing analysis. The network comprises MEC Series ME55C professional large format (55 inch) screens from Samsung. Driven by the Scala Smart Signage Platform using Samsung’s ‘system on chip’ integrated media player hardware solution, the need for an external, dedicated media Player has been removed, reducing the total cost of the solution. The Scala products used by IKEA Switzerland include Scala Content Manager and HTML Players. Scala Enterprise is extensively integrated with Samsung’s SSP to enable customers to create dynamic and impactful digital communication solutions quickly and easily.
The primary motivation for the IKEA Switzerland program was to enrich the shopping experience of its customers. Historically, the Swiss organization had relied on printed posters to communicate the arrival of new products, to publicize special offers and even to highlight choices in the renowned IKEA restaurant (a destination in its own right). However, printing posters is expensive and time-consuming for local staff and they could not readily reflect a rapidly-changing business environment. The Scala-based digital signage installation has successfully eliminated cost and saved staff time as well as providing improved information flow to enhance the customer experience. IKEA
describes it as a ‘win-win’ scenario.
The new installation has also had a very positive effect on employee communications. The company uses the digital signage screens to communicate business results, organizational changes, promote competitions and also feature material such as video, pictures and text from IKEA’s in-house employee-focused magazine.
Central control, local adaptation
Like many large organizations implementing digital signage, IKEA Switzerland designs, manages and distributes its content centrally to ensure store-to-store consistency. However, IKEA Switzerland faces something of a unique challenge. Although Switzerland is a relatively small country, with a population of around 8 million, it has no fewer than four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. This, together with differences in consumer behaviour in the various regions, makes it imperative that each store can reflect its local clientele. The Scala-based system allows an appropriate balance between central control and local adaptation. Feedback from customers and employees alike about the new system has been universally positive and enthusiastic and there is no doubt in IKEA Switzerland’s mind that the new Scala-based installation has a positive influence on the buying process and supports the company in achieving its sales goals. The Swiss management team also appreciated the speed and ease with which the transition to digital signage was made, with the installation up and running on every screen in every store two weeks after work began.
About The IKEA Group
With total 2013 sales of €27.9 billion (of which food accounts for €1.4 billion), 9,500 products, 303 stores in 26 countries, 135,000 employees and 684 million store visitors each year, IKEA is the world’s largest furniture retailer. In 2013, the company opened five new stores in four countries. For more information, visit www.ikea.com.
Kilchenmann is a Switzerland based company that offers innovative media and communication solutions. The company and its dedicated employees are 100% focused on their customers. They have 3 main areas: business, private customers and event & media services. For more information, visit www.kilchenmann.ch.