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Ikea Pops Up to Inspire

Ikea has been experimenting with alternative formats and pop-up style concepts for some time now as they pursue a strategy to reach consumers in new ways and target more urban dwellers who don’t have easy access to their remote Suburban stores. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Ikea, and the inspiration for the opening of ‘Ikea Inspiration Experience’ in Chicago.

The inspiration experience is just that, a multi-sensory experience that delivers on engagement and connects the online and offline worlds, beginning with your phone. Visitors are encouraged to connect to WiFi and visit the Inspiration Experience website while moving through each of the four distinguished rooms. Each room has a defined purpose (family of four, empty nesters etc.) with Ikea furnishings. There are 75 tags on merchandise throughout the exhibit, each tied to trivia questions that popup as you scan each item.

Some are more hidden than others, but it allows customers to touch, feel, see and have fun while searching for products. Points are allotted for every question answered right, and customers can ‘cash in’ at the prize hall when done. At the end of the four rooms lies a rewards area for customers to receive gifts based on the amount of questions they scored right. Brought me back to my Dave and Buster days. And, of course, it wouldn’t be an Ikea experience without the meatballs! They’ve even upgraded their options to offer vegan and chicken as well.

We have continued to see retailers opening interactive spaces for consumers to engage with the brand in other ways than shopping for their products. Developing an extension of the brand that is creative and focused on something other than just selling product is important in today’s retail world. Coach opened their ‘Life Coach’ experience in New York City this past June with a similar feel to this one. It will be interesting see what other retailers will follow suit.

The popup will be open in Chicago until this Sunday and is located at 1714 N Damen Avenue in Bucktown.

By Alex Kaufmann


McMillanDoolittle is a premier international retail consultancy bringing deep experience with world class clients. Our partners have extensive experience interpreting the retail marketplace and converting insights into successful strategies. We help clients develop innovative solutions in strategy development, the customer experience, new concepts, brand performance, retail performance improvement and retail intelligence services.

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