I just have to say this – the check out lines are always long at Ikea Malaysia. All the time.

Courtesy of Ikea Malaysia Blog

I think it’s down to three reasons, really. Firstly, Ikea has done a fantastic job in making household window shopping a fun family activity. Like the joy that my wife exudes whenever she checks out the latest rugs and carpets. Secondly, Malaysians are always on gap-analysis mode. There is always that neat add-on to the house that we desperately need. A hook for the kitchen. A new Billy at the corner. Endless. We would all make great gap analysts in EA teams. Thirdly, there’s the Swedish meatballs with jam that we can’t live without, even though it’s really not the typical Malaysian nor Asian flavor mix.

So, here’s Mike’s Light Take on making check-out lines at Ikea more bearable without disrupting the shopping experience! 🙂

  1. I know what you’re thinking – have an online store. The thing we have to keep in mind here is this – the great Ikea experience is defined by the showroom experience. Buyers buy when they see, touch, feel and walk through those aisles. So, an online store will never be able to replicate that. You would end up with lots of depressed Malaysian families.
  2. Mobile check-out app & QR codes. Have a mobile app that allows shoppers to log in with their Ikea Family credentials, and tie it to a credit card. That way, shoppers just need to tag all that they feast their eyes on, and checkout with the credit card. 
  3. Delivery. Allow a function in the app for delivery tagging. This takes care of the large items.
  4. What about hand-carried items? Probably a couple of checkout lanes that double up to perform item validation. This should shave the checkout wait time significantly. The delivery option should also be available for such items.
  5. The remaining shoppers with huge shopping carts and who “refuse to app” can then continue queuing at the check-out lanes.

Sounds like I’m solving my own Ikea experience. Anyway…

What I didn’t cover here are new buying experiences and new business outcomes that are possible with a hybrid shopping experience and the richness of data collected. There is incentive then, for the shopper to be a data point in Ikea’s data lake. I’ll save that for another time. This is a light take, remember.