IKEA is known as one of the world’s largest furniture retailer that focuses highly on cost control, operational process and product development. IKEA differentiates itself from most furniture retailers by offering a wide range of well designed array of home furniture at very attractive prices that remain affordable to a large group of diverse customers. There are some unique features of IKEA as compared to most furniture retail stores (IKEA, 2012)
‘Self – Service’ (minimal service or influence from sales person)
Details of all products are made ubiquitous in the showroom thus making sales assistance unnecessary which this in return helps to reduce the hiring cost of labor.
Layout of Products (product exposure)
Ikea stores are designed in a one-way ‘walk-through layout’ that requires customers to be exposed to the entire products which is unlike from most furniture retail stores where by customers may choose to go directly to the section they preferred. Hence, the flow allows increased efficiency from entering the showroom, selecting of products to lastly making payments.
Most of Ikea products are self – assembled products, this helps to reduce the costs of shipping as higher volume of bulk packaging can be done. Unlike most furniture retail stores where free delivery and assembly is given, additional charges apply if fixing of product is required by the customers.
Lastly, four dimensions of operations (Volume, Variety, Variation and Visibility) will be used to determine the differences between IKEA operations to that of most furniture retail stores.
High Volume - IKEA’s operations are of very large scale, major land space and huge car parks are developed to cater to all customers, everything about the design of IKEA’s operations encourages high volume of throughput as compared to most furniture retail stores (IKEA, 2012).