Service Innovation of IKEA’s self-service in China

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Introduction According to Chinese officials, the living standards improved steadily during 1980s and 1990s, also, a plenty of families recent years are prone to have their own homes as soon as they can afford. (Zhan, 1998) Under this condition, the competition among the furniture market becomes more and more fierce. In today’s market, some sellers provide more kinds of variable furniture with colorful appearance or high technology. Also, there are some companies provide the commodities with a lower price. However, these are all short-term attractions because all the companies can copy these tricks so it does not have a high distinction degree. Then, how to use innovative methods to stand out from the competition is a big problem. The self-service offered by IKEA solve the problem properly. IKEA is a Swedish furniture mart run by a 17-year-old boy Ingvar Kamprad in 1943 and entered China in 1998. The self-service provided by the firm is very attractive and really helpful for the problem mentioned before. This essay will divided into four parts generally. First, it will give an introduction on self-service and the operation process including distribution channels, position and finance. The second part will elaborate the theories applied in the service. Next paragraph will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the service. Finally, some advice will be given to the service according to the present and future situation in China. The Operation Process in IKEA The self-service in IKEA is reflected in several ways. When the customer first enters the market, he can take a brochure; a ruler made of paper and a pencil for free so that he can get knowledge of the products and record the length of the furniture. The shopping area is decorated as numbers of model houses; it has children’s rooms, living rooms, bedrooms, washrooms and kitchens. All the products IKEA sales are displayed in the show area. As it shown in the picture 1, the consumer can follow the trace that IKEA provide and he can visit all of the rooms.   Picture 1 Picture 2 Different from the shops in China which set up a signal writes “no touch”, customers are welcomed to sit on those furnishings and feel them which make the “show rooms” exist as “experience rooms”.

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