August 15, 2016

Ikea in Japan shares customers insights

"In Chiba Prefecture, in 2006, local media were sceptical about whether Japanese consumers would accept cheaply made furniture from a foreign brand. Yet, as anyone who has visited an Ikea branch on a recent Saturday will know, Japanese shoppers have embraced Scandinavian interior style as wholeheartedly as they consume US products by the trolley-load at outlets such as Costco.

List attributes Ikea’s success to four attributes. First is research: “We listened to the market and built networks for a long time before we purchased land”, he said. “We studied how people live in Japan, and we still visit homes across the country every year”.

Second is commitment: “You can’t make a quick buck; you need to invest money and time. You need a ‘permanent’ mind set”.

Third is relationship-building: This, List believes, is the only way to overcome bureaucracy. “The World Health Organization has a list of banned substances but Japan has banned additional ones”, he said. “If you test products in another country, even to extremely high standards, sometimes different requirements may still apply”. This is where connections come in handy.

Finally, there is novelty: Japanese consumers expect this. “Unless you develop your products, customers will get tired [of them] very quickly. We use limited collections of items that you won’t get again”.

To this end, List has embraced the Japanese concept of kaizen (continual improvement), made famous by workers on Toyota Motor Corporation’s car production lines. “We are always looking to improve, and we use Toyota as a model”, he said. One of his key advisors is a former manager of the carmaker."


Source: Briton leads Ikea into bright future
By Lucy Alexander for BCCJ ACUMEN
Japan Today.com
MAY. 02, 2016
http://www.japantoday.com/category/executive-impact/view/briton-leads-ikea-into-bright-future



japan, japanese, customer, consumers, ikea, insights, tips, www.japanesecustomer.com, @jcustomers, #japan

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