Ikea plots major loyalty card revamp

Ikea is planning a major shake-up of its global loyalty scheme – Ikea Family – amid plans to delve deeper into customer data and boost tailored communications to its 52 million members worldwide.
The scheme operates throughout Europe, the Far East and the US, although it is not available in all countries in which the retailer has stores, and many markets do not offer the same level of sophistication as the UK.
Magnus Holst, global communications manager for IKEA Family, was speaking in advance of unveiling the new plans – including rebranding, data analysis and mobile marketing – at the Retail Bulletin Customer Loyalty Conference 2012 in London on June 13.
He said the first step will be to bring in unified branding, changing the visual identity of Ikea Family from orange to the corporate mix of yellow and blue. “All countries should present more of a unified front. At the moment the benefits are described differently in each country and we want to change this, but without them all sounding too generic,” Holst explained.
But the biggest shift will involve analysis of the data that the Ikea Family cards create when they are swiped at the till. This will take a major sea-change in the company’s ethos, Holst claimed, adding Ikea is “a mass production- and mass communication-driven company that does not have in its genes the consideration of individual customers or segmenting them or even being able to listen to them”.
He explained: “I’d say Ikea Family is quite unsophisticated, in general. It’s been hard to scope-down customer management that’s possible across 130,000 global employees,” adding that the likes of Tesco have the advantage of its customers visiting its stores every week compared with maybe three or four times a year for Ikea.
“We need to get more efficient with our communications and target offers at specific groups. A campaign should be filtered for certain people and there should also be communications that are triggered by the actions of people,” said Holst.
He cites the example of an Ikea Family member buying a wardrobe, who could then be targeted with complementary products, or an online shopper visiting wardrobes on the Ikea website, who could then be sent a wardrobe-creation planner.
“It’s a big shift for us and needs to be done at a reasonable level of sophistication. We should react with automated processes that help customers buy. We just need to identify the biggest initial wins,” he suggests.
To develop such capabilities Holst says each country will need to have partners – who could be CRM agencies or operational database suppliers – that have good skills in database analysis and operation.
Much of this activity is already being carried out in the UK, through its agency Lida, however, in other markets the scheme is in its infancy.
“Fifty per cent [of members] have not swiped their cards in the past year – although some might still have been shopping in Ikea –and we need to develop routines to attract them back. Maybe we need to identify them beyond the cards – which most likely would be via mobile phones,” Holt predicted.

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