Retail Mash-Up: What if IKEA and Kohl’s birthed a new concept?
2017 has been a year of unexpected mergers and acquisitions. Amazon acquired Whole Foods, QVC acquired HSN and Walmart acquired nearly everyone else.
In RetailWire’s Retail Mash-Ups, we imagine what would happen if two radically different retailers were to collaborate to create a unique chain with both of their best qualities. Beyond any practical implications, the goal is to inspire creative thinking about the potential of such a collaboration.
For the purpose of today’s discussion, imagine a store created by IKEA and Kohl’s.
An international staple in affordable home décor, IKEA functions at such a scale that the company consumes one percent of the world’s lumber. While its minimalist home decor is a mainstay in many a college student and/or young adult’s first apartment, IKEA isn’t immune to challenges. The company has been scrambling to revamp its image after recent legal battles concerning the dire consequences of faulty dresser mounting.
One of America’s leading department stores with 1,200 locations, Kohl’s has struggled to remain relevant in recent years as an increasing number of customers forego traditional department stores in favor of online retailers. The Wisconsin retailer recently added Under Armour to its mix and branched out into its own off-price concept amid analyst concerns that the company may be going down-market.
When you step into an IKEA store, you pretty much sign over your life to the retailer for a while. Signs lead customers through a complex maze of decorated rooms with twists and turns every few feet. IKEA’s labyrinth-like store concept is designed to keep customers in-store and perusing inventory for longer amounts of time than they initially intended.
Kohl’s race-track design, by comparison, is designed for convenience. Kohl’s has the casual ambience of a discount retailer, with easily navigable store aisles and multiple checkout lanes to help to expedite the buying process.
Although Kohl’s and IKEA are very different brands, one can’t help but wonder if a store with the best DNA from both retailers wouldn’t just kill it with urban young parents, as well as appealing to price-conscious shoppers from rural areas.
- IKEA is the capitalist version of Stockholm Syndrome which explains why we love what ensnares us – Quartz
- Investor FAQs – Kohl’s
- America’s Hottest Clothing Chains – Forbes
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What kind of a customer experience could you envision from a concept parented by IKEA and Kohl’s? Would a store created by IKEA and Kohl’s have enough resonance with next-generation shoppers to maintain mid-level price-points, or would the hybrid company be doomed to go down-market?