Burt S, Johansson U & Thelander A (2011) Standardized Marketing Strategies in Retailing? IKEA's marketing strategies in Sweden, the UK and China. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 18 (3), pp. 183-193. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/09696989; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2010.09.007
IKEA is often cited as an example of a “global” retailer which pursues a similar “standardized” approach in every market. This paper systematically assesses the degree of standardization (and adaptation) of four commonly identified retail marketing mix activities – merchandise, location and store format, the selling and service environment, and market communication – within three countries. These countries – Sweden, the UK and China – represent different cultural settings and are markets in which IKEA has been operating for different lengths of time. The data upon which the comparison is based was generated from personal interviews, in-country consumer research, company documentation and third party commentaries. The conclusions drawn suggest that whilst IKEA operates a standardized concept, degrees of adaptation can be observed in customer facing elements, and in the supporting “back office” processes which support these elements. These adaptations arise from differences in consumer cultures and the length of time, and subsequent exposure to and experience of, the market. This suggests that standardization in international retailing should be considered from the perspective of replicating the concept, rather than replicating the activities.
IKEA; retail internationalization; retail marketing mix; standardization; Sweden; the UK; China; Industrial productivity; Retail trade Management
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services: Volume 18, Issue 3