Vienna | Those who always think of Ikea as blue box furniture stores in industrial estates have to re-adjust. A new inner-city furniture store format opened at Vienna’s Westbahnhof station, where Ikea designed almost everything differently. Starting with a downtown location without car parking aimed at public transportation customers but also numerous digital signage displays, kiosk terminals, full app integration, hotel and a roof terrace. The new store format and the spectacular architecture provides a new shopping experience that inspires desire for more.
It’s no secret that Ikea is constantly reinventing itself; invidis has already reported extensively about new store formats in shopping malls, design centers, stores with a recreational roof park and new shop-in-shop in supermarkets. Of particular interest to the digital signage industry is the digitisation of the customer journey and the role of digital touchpoints in home improvement stores aka as furniture stores.
With the new inner-city concept, Ikea integrates into the cityscape and public transportation focused city life. The modern architecture, green facades and the integrated hotel are not at all reminiscent of a typical Ikea store. The result is a shopping destination on seven floors that is more like a hip department store than a self-service furniture store. The Swedes have managed to reinvent the shopping experience on less retail space while still offering the full range of products.
Most interesting for the digital signage industry how Ikea integrating displays on a large scale for the first time. Well over 100 displays were installed on the five Ikea floors. It is not the spectacular WoW installations that shoppers expect in Vienna. Instead, there are many small (12″) to large format displays (75″) and a few video walls. The majority of digital touchpoints are non-interactive (Digital Poster), intended to provide both product inspiration and additional product information. The public digital signage screens are not intended for interactivity and transactions; that is the core role of the Ikea app. The integration of the displays is also kept simple – primarily plaster mounted or visibly suspended from the ceiling to retain flexibility for frequent redecorations. Accordingly, the power and network supply is neatly but often visibly. In contrast to the permanently integrated displays – among others in the checkout areas and entrances – whose cable infrastructure is hidden.
A touch of QSR at Ikea
For instore signage and wayguiding Ikea relies on static signage. An exception are the restaurants: order terminals are everywhere. Premiering in Vienna Ikea turned to double-sided order terminals from Diebold-Nixdorf, very similar to the ten-thousands of order terminals in the QSR industry. The usability as well as the screen design follow establsied processes of McDonalds, Burger King & Co. and should pose no problems for Ikea visitors. Many large-format displays located throughout the restaurants either function as menu-boards as well as queuing system displaying the status of orders and inform clients when orders are ready for collection.
Of course, the secret stars of the pandemic – entry control solutions – are not to be missed at Ikea Vienna. At the entrances, Ikea implemented a Checkpoint solution with sensors and digital signage displays showing the current customer count and a traffic light system. A trend we are observing more and more often. At the beginning of the pandemic, established retail technology providers like the inventory security specialist Checkpoint were not flexible enough to offer digital signage based solutions. An opportunity taken up by digital signage integrators in 2020. Global enterprises are typically slower to react to market changes, but win in the medium and long term with their market power and installed sensor base.
According to invidis information, ZetaDisplay is Ikea’s worldwide digital signage partner. The solutions are based on ZetaDisplay’s Engage Plus CMS on Tizen and Samsung as display partner.
The new city centre format shows how the Swedish home improvement retailer is not shy in disrupting decade old customer journeys and processes to adapt to changing consumer behaviors. A visit to Ikea at Vienna’s Westbahnhof is refreshingly different. From a digital signage point of view, the new concept proofs also the value-add of displays in limited retail spaces, providing information, ambience and emotions. For highly standardised restaurants (QSR), order terminals are now business critical.
Of course, the new store would also have offered room for some digital WoW installations. And we assume that there may well be large LED and video wall installations again at other locations, if the overall architectural concept is permitting it.