IKEA made headlines last week by building an online catalog in the form of the world’s first website on Instagram. After examining the response to Restoration Hardware’s recent catalog strategy last week, we were excited to find this contrasting example of a brand rethinking their catalog for the digital space. Instead of dropping a stack of paper on your doorstep, IKEA in Russia established its presence in a consolidated and easy-to-navigate visual online catalog to capture interest and connect its audience. This first foray of its kind offers some key points to consider when developing your digital strategy for social and mobile campaigns.
Keep it Small and Relevant
Instead of flooding the Instagram website with every item in store on the main IKEA account, they focused only on their latest IKEA PS Collection, giving it its own account (@IKEA_PS_2014) with sub-accounts for each product. The PS Collection is especially targeted toward a younger demographic that lives in compact spaces and is always on the move, which also happens to be a prominent demographic that uses Instagram. They are on Instagram, so they seek eye-catching visuals and these images of furniture fit perfectly. Users who like what they see and want to learn more are directed to the larger IKEA online catalog site where they make their purchase.
Extend the Brand Engagement Cycle
With Instagram as its showcase platform, IKEA has expanded the customer relationship with the brand and the catalog beyond the purchase by inviting customers to tag Instagram posts of IKEA products in their environment and show how the products fit into their lifestyle. It has the potential to grow into a diverse, crowdsourced catalog, with every consumer contribution bringing more visibility to the IKEA PS 2014 catalog and collection.
Mobile makes sense for a younger audience who is always on the move, especially for promoting a collection that promises style and compact design to fit that lifestyle. In Russia 25% of web page views originate on a mobile device, but it’s equally important to note that 89% of all mobile access is through apps, not mobile web browsers.¹ IKEA’s use of Instagram positions them within that 89% of mobile web usage, and as a part of a larger, trusted platform to boot. When mastering your own mobile app isn’t an option, counting on established platforms and networks can be a great alternative.
Perhaps one of the biggest accomplishments of this online catalog is how it efficiently it was produced using an existing channel with a large, active audience. As a primarily visual medium, Instagram makes sense for a product so closely tied to design and its fit within an environment. While it definitely took time to source the images, organize and tag them, it was surely faster and cheaper than traditional catalog production.
One thing we don’t see IKEA doing with their Instagram posts is using the hashtag feature to extend the reach of the images within relevant topic streams. This could be a decision to limit the clutter in each caption, but tags can also be implemented in comments. The social nature of the Instagram platform also offers opportunities to connect and communicate with followers, addressing any questions, but with a huge spread of profiles it may take time and dedication.
Now that IKEA’s PS 2014 Collection site is set in place on Instagram, there are a few limitations that the company will have to come to terms with. One of the key benefits of using Instagram is the ability to put your image on your followers’ home feeds. To maintain a static profile for its homepage, IKEA is forgoing the ability to update and add images periodically. By not appearing in their more than 16,000 followers’ feeds, they can not reconnect and drive traffic to their catalog, missing out on one of the social platform’s key advantages.
Amid these limitations, it’s safe to say IKEA has opened the doors for their customers to play a greater role and lengthen their relationship past purchase. In just a few short days, they’ve amassed over 16,000 followers for the collection, but only time will tell if users will carry out posting their purchases and tagging them.
Overall it is an intriguing experiment and one that is sure to take new form as the opportunities for social commerce also begin to evolve. We are excited to see where this goes. Check it out here http://instagram.com/ikea_ps_2014.
¹ “Mobile Marketing Statistics 2014,” Smart Insights