Market Research Week 2: IKEA, Extreme Pita.

Mar 11, 2011 by Yuriy Sklyar

Every day we experience brilliant advertising and smart marketing techniques. This week we went out and visited a furniture store and a fast food franchise. We were on the lookout for inspirational ideas that we could embrace. Take a look at what we liked.

First, we have visited the worldwide furniture giant, IKEA. Their stores are always consistent and deserve some recognition. What is most interesting about them is their iconic reputation. Everyone owns or has owned furniture from IKEA. That is because they take customer experience to a new level, just look at what it says on their website.

After IKEA we went over to Extreme Pita for a quick snack. They are a fast food chain known for having the best pita wraps. The restaurant has recently re-branded and the new look is clean and comfortable. Their product photography is great and they are an inspiration for the current re-branding we are doing of The Soup and Sandwich Co.

Things we like:

Welcome to IKEA South Common.

Yura: It's a fact that not everyone goes to IKEA to specifically buy furniture. Some people go there to eat, some go there to get decoration ideas, etc. However in most of these cases, everyone ends up buying something there. THIS is how you do business.

Tom: This is one thing that IKEA is known for. They create really life-like displays that help customers shop in comfort. No obtrusive ads, just price tags on the items that people can buy. Creating a house- like environment also helps to better visualize owning the item.

How to display your products.

Yura: IKEA always valued design, and it definitely shows. Instead of simply laying out their products neatly, they take it a step further and create very attractive color-matched layouts. Not only is this pleasing to the eye, it also makes it easier to find items.

Tom: The layout in IKEA is incredible. They take the most ordinary items and color match them in such a way that they become appealing.

Shaun: What would they do if they sold persian rugs i wonder?

IKEA supports good causes.

Yura: I am a strong believer in supporting good causes. A lot of people admire companies that do good, and actually want to support them by buying their products. Cool concept too!

Tom: The thing I like about this ad is the description. The two main things that stand out are "Millions Of Children Can't Read, Write Or Draw After Sunset." and the price of  "$19.99". The lamp is barely visible in the ad and the focus is placed on the story and not the product itself. Very Effective.

Shaun: And it's in Verdana! The focus on helping children hides the fact they use a bad typeface. Amazing!

"Real 3D ads"

Tom: This is the closest thing I have ever seen to a 3D billboard. Inside IKEA they create various product displays that find a way to utilize the background and product to make a 3D advertisement. The best part about this is how you can take the product from right under the display without having to look around.

Internal marketing.

Tom: In the middle of the lighting section they have advertisements for food. This type of internal marketing is great because it is very close to the checkout.

Shaun: IKEA is known for its clean design, but with their food advertisement, they seem to be split? Not sure about minimalist pictures of food with differentiating typefaces? I can understand having an abruption from the other product ads to separate the food from the furnishings, but i see room for improvement. IKEA hotdogs: The hotdog that looks like it just tastes like a hotdog. 50 cents! I will not lie, that is an amazing deal on hotdogs.

Things some might not even notice.

Yura: It's incredible to think that IKEA is just one huge warehouse! A very cozy, welcoming one.

Tom: I noticed that most of the store was sitting on pallets. I find this to be very interesting because this is the cheapest way to display products yet IKEA does such a good job of it that customers don't even notice.

Shaun: If your work here, it must be nice to know that whenever you need to restock a shelf you just need the pallet jack. No worries about presentation. however, if you are a first time IKEA shopper, you are going to have difficulties finding what you want. This last trek would be a frustrating one to navigate if it were not for the helpful computers that can show you where to go.

All about product photography!

Well laid out, nicely designed, clean space = happy customers.

Yura: Extreme Pita has been getting better and better at their presentation. They are a fairly new company to the fast-food market, and one of the only few who actually realize that small things such as quality photography, smart design and great customer experience WILL effect your business in wonderful ways!

Tom: The product photography is amazing at Extreme Pita. We are modeling a lot of our Soup and Sandwhich Co re-brand around this concept. The large visual on the wall should be done more often throughout fast food chains. It instills more confidence in the quality of food.

Positioning and layout.

Yura: Unlike most of the fast-food joints, this one set up with the customer in mind. Menus are close enough to you so you can actually see all the details, it is also tilted, which improves the viewing experience even further. The layout of menus also makes a lot of sense and is easy to use. Take a look at the back of the restaurant. You don't see any office supplies and random things laying around.

Internal marketing.

Yura: Extreme Pita also takes advantage of internal marketing. These ads make it very easy for people to try new products or hear about new promotions.

Tom: All of the ads were very clean throughout the restaurant. Simplicity is very appealing.

Gift cards.

Tom: If you look on the right Extreme Pita has their own gift cards. I like the concept but the presentation is lacking because of the mess around them. The only thing that hurts Extreme Pita here is that the packaging for the Gift Cards was one sided.

Shaun: As good as food tastes when it's promoted as healthy, i would not want to get anyone an extreme pita gift card that is "Inspiring a HEALTHIER gift." Sometimes within the specific context (like gift giving), negative connotations are implied. Embracing life, longevity and active lifestyle choices is an alternative focus for marketing. I love Extreme Pita and smashing the words healthy in any context will definitely make people associate healthy eats with your brand, but that gift card? Not so good.

Core values.

Yura: If you are a strong believer in the core values of your company (which any business owner should be), make it very clear! Extreme Pita achieves this by actually putting up a large poster with their beliefs.

Tom: The company story and values. Always a must. People don't buy the product. They buy the idea.


Yuriy Sklyar - Principal, Threefifty

I'm responsible for UX and UI (among other things) of all projects that come through the doors of Threefifty.

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