IKEA Japan

July 21, 2008

I’m just going to post some of my thoughts on IKEA Japan as seen through the eyes of someone who’s been to IKEA in both the U.S. and Japan.

Things they are doing right:

  • Paid to have a station named after them on the Port-Liner train (which takes people from downtown Kobe to Kobe Airport).
  • Shuttle buses from downtown Kobe.
  • Plentiful parking.
  • Cheap land on Port Island in Kobe. They bought up the place that used to be an amusement park called Portopialand.
  • Billboards
  • Newspaper articles
  • The “Ikea Family Card” providing free drinks and discounts in the cafeteria.
  • Child care services and kids’ amusement kiosks.
  • Not playing the game of matching prices with other companies in the area. (Japanese business is very us vs them, with us being businesses and them being consumers. Companies stick together to avoid competition and screw the consumer.)
  • Putting things together for the customers. Since most people in Japan won’t want to put it int themselves, they are going to make a killing on these types of services.

Things I think Ikea is doing wrong:

  • No straws in the cafeteria. What’s up with that???
  • Paper cups instead of the glasses or plastic cups used in other places. It feels cheap and sort of goes against the non-wasteful image Ikea portrays.
  • Not enough kids’ meal options.
  • No Lingonberry juice in the fountain drinks. They have Pepsi and Suntory related options available, but no Lingonberry juice. They offer it boxed, so you can buy it but it’s overpriced. It should definitely be one of the fountain drinks.
  • Needs more model rooms based on the kinds of apartments and homes that people in Japan really need to deal with. I think someone needs to tell their design people about the whole 2LDK and 3DK type of room designations and what they imply about the layout of a room. They have good furniture, and I’d like to see how it would look in my apartment, but we need a little more realism with the size and layout of regular peoples’ homes so we can get a good mental image before we buy.

Anybody else ever go to an Ikea in Japan? Let’s hear some reviews!