New York (PRWEB) November 8, 2007
With Black Friday quickly approaching, retailers are looking for every possible way to maximize their exposure to consumers and increase sales. According to data from Nielsen//NetRatings and Hitwise, Black Friday 2006 showed dramatic increases in visits to shopping sites for both the research and purchase of research of gift items. Retailers like IKEA are hoping for even larger numbers for Black Friday 2007.
In the past year, IKEA, the world's leading home furnishings retailer, has successfully leveraged their online presence to achieve sharp increases their in-store sales. Through their partnership with HUGE, (http://www.hugeinc.com), a leading independent interactive agency, IKEA has seen first-hand the power of helping consumers to conduct research prior to purchase.
Consumers who visit IKEA.com before shopping in an IKEA store spend over 100% more than those who do not visit the website. The website is the result of a partnership with HUGE, the interactive agency of record for IKEA. HUGE provides strategy, creative, and production for the furniture retailer's retail and corporate websites in over 24 markets worldwide.
"HUGE understands how consumers shop online and they keep us focused on the evolving goals and unique habits of the online customer. It is a great challenge to translate the IKEA brand values and visual identity to the Internet, and we are very happy with the work HUGE has done for us in this area. Their new website design feels very much like IKEA and we're very confident going into the holiday shopping season," said Allan Lidforsen, IKEA Online Group Manager.
HUGE helped IKEA develop its first global platform for sharing its furnishing knowledge with consumers. Room images on IKEA.com are fully interactive allowing consumers to engage with the images and see tips and ideas for a variety of products and everyday situations. The 24 country roll out of the new IKEA.com began in June 2007.
"The key to the IKEA site was a user interface that balances efficiency and discovery," say Gene Liebel, Partner and Director of User Experience at HUGE. "User research showed that IKEA customers have very high expectations for IKEA.com. IKEA customers expect an experience beyond just basic product information and prices. They want to learn how to improve their lives at home, and they want it all integrated into an easy-to-use online experience."
The site architecture is organized around the rooms of the house including bedroom, children's room, dining room, kitchen and living room. The room selections are customized to each country. In addition, "Ask Anna", the automated customer service chat character driven by artificial intelligence has an expanded role and more prominent position. Anna has proven to be very effective in providing 24/7 support and advice to millions of IKEA customers worldwide, reducing support costs.
HUGE (http://www.hugeinc.com) is a leading independent interactive agency that specializes in building sustainable online businesses for some of the largest and most demanding companies in the world. Founded in 1999, HUGE has evolved a unique methodology and culture that combine the best aspects of research, user-centered design, product planning, and technology expertise. The customer experiences designed by HUGE generate over $3 billion in annual revenue and are visited by over 120 million unique users each month. Clients include IKEA (http://www.IKEA.com), JetBlue Airways (http://www.JetBlue.com), Scholastic (http://www.scholastic.com), Walt Disney Company, TheStreet.com, Time Inc. (http://www.thisoldhouse.com) and American University. The company has offices in New York, Los Angeles and Sweden.