I’ve never really been to IKEA until recently. I went once, but my colleague and I rushed through it like a thunder storm, looking for some photo frames, so we missed most of it. Why did I go to IKEA in the end? Word of mouth, of course, from several sources. They all lead me to believe IKEA is a must see when decorating a new home, they made me envision a dreamy place where all your ideas could come true. I fell in love with these huge shrine to all all things interior design and I thought I should stop and analyze how it all happened. I believe there are quite a few lessons to be learned from this experience, which is in no way unique.
Case studies and research
Why bother writing case study, publishing survey findings, participate in research projects? You get your brand name associated with other brands, you get people in the industry talk about you, you get press coverage. In this particular case, I listened to a guru of marketing talk about IKEA, explain why certain types of consumers that were not exactly in their target loved shopping there so much, compare IKEA to Kika and point out differences. I saw a video of happy customers talking about their IKEA experience. It all stuck to my mind. Yes, it was interesting information, strongly related to my field, but I still remember the girl who had a house filled with IKEA furniture and accessories.
What people tell their friends is paramount
In this case, a young married couple. OK, I admit it, maybe not your cliche couple, where the guy hates shopping. But they both told me so much about IKEA, the furniture they got there, how much they loved it, enough to make weekly trips there, that I had to go see it for myself. But there’s an important caveat here! IKEA seems the sort of place that a lot of different people love. If the recommendation would have come from someone I perceive as being very different from me, or as having opposite tastes, the reaction might not have been the same on my side.
Word of mouth only brings customer to you!
Which means it’s totally up to you to win them over and keep them! IKEA happened to be everything I expected it to be. I found a lot of things that I simply loved and I came home with a long list of codes for furniture I intend to buy in the future. However, if IKEA’s personnel would have been less welcoming, if their showroom wouldn’t have been so cleverly put together, if all the little things that are there to help you (like pencils, sheets of paper, a software to help you see how the furniture would fit your room) weren’t offered, I would have made plans to see other similar stores.
Word of mouth does spread like a virus!
Other than making extensive future shopping plans, I told my friends and family how fun it all was, how user friendly and smartly designed it all was. Some of them had heard similar endorsements, and decided to give IKEA a try the next time they needed something for their home. My mother who joined me also had positive impressions to share. Yes, it does grow exponentially.
Word of mouth is definitely something you should carefully consider. And keep in mind happy customers are not the only ones who can spread the word. Business partners, industry analysts and experts are also great at endorsing your company and your products or services.