Clay Christensen pushes product creators to look at their products as a vehicle to get a particular job done. FedEx, for example, fulfills the job of getting a package from here to there as fast as possible. Disney does the job of providing warm, safe, fantasy vacations for families. Great businesses get this concept. And, IKEA is a great example of a great business that does.
On first glance, IKEA is just a simple furniture store. Why hasn’t someone just copied their product line and catalog? IKEA focuses on the job it is hired to do while its competitors define their businesses by product or customer segments (high end, low end, etc.). IKEA gets hired to quickly furnish or re-furnish a house. So, they are designed for just that. For example, furniture is easy to carry, deliver home, and assemble. There is a kids area so parents can focus on the shopping. Furthermore, there is even a restaurant so you don’t worry about your next meal. Finally, lest we forget, they are also very affordable.
My wife and I have been IKEA shoppers since we left home for university ten years ago. So, this isn’t just a cool case study. We’ve visited IKEA in every place we’ve lived – typically within the first week of getting there. Seeing products with Swedish name tags around our home is normal for us. The table and chair I’m using to type this has Swedish roots. I know furniture connoisseurs scorn their furniture. But, we love it. And, here’s hoping we never get too fancy to continue loving it.
IKEA released a beautiful one minute ad about a mom taking her son shopping.
It is a beautiful example of being “on brand.” They get what customers come to them for and keep things simple… consistently. It shows.