The popular Swedish home and furniture store Ikea opened its 21st store in Exeter earlier this month.
The retailer, which celebrated thirty years in the UK last year, has created 370 local jobs and is promoting this store as their most sustainable to date, which is good news for the increasing environmentally aware shopper.
The importance of sustainability is key to businesses in the modern world. The new Ikea store is leading the way by being the first branch to showcase solar panels, rainwater harvesting and ground source heating. The car park also has eight electric vehicle charging points and electric vans are included in their home delivery service, demonstrating Ikea are recognising the need to provide more for their customers.
The Shopping Experience
Consumers are being given more choice than ever before on both what they purchase and how they shop. Giving shoppers an experience is now becoming key to retailers such as Ikea, who offer on-site restaurants and cafés as well as play areas for children, encouraging the whole family to visit by providing everything in one place. Other stores are also looking for new ways to encourage shoppers into their shops. The addition of in store media provided by companies such as https://moodmedia.co.uk/in-store-music-for-business/ is one of the many tools being used by retailers to create a relaxing atmosphere for customers.
Other incentives being offered by retailers include personalised sales assistants, try at home schemes and consumer friendly returns policies. Many shopping centres now offer facilities to charge mobile phones, comfortable seating areas for rest and relaxation and water dispensers all aimed at enticing the customer into the centre. Shopping malls such as The Victoria Centre in Nottingham have commissioned Prosecco bars for customers, encouraging shopping to become a social event.
With online retail sales increasing, high street retailers, department stores and retailers such as Ikea are investing more and more time and money into encouraging people out of their homes and into their stores. Last year the BBC published an article highlighting how US stores are leading the way in creating a new kind of shopping experience.
Customers who enjoy their shopping trip are more likely to return to a store and feel confident with their purchase. Creating the right atmosphere in stores makes shoppers want to browse and shop for longer.