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The Discipline of Organizing: Core Concepts Edition, 3rd Edition by Robert J. Glushko

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11.10. Ikea

By Sandra Lee, December 2013.

Overview. Ikea is much more than a furniture store. It is a highly organized system that successfully draws customers in, makes them linger there, and induces them to purchase something, while also delivering an unbeatable customer experience. The experience is so enjoyable that customers often come back just for fun, whether it is to casually browse, hang out with a friend, bring the kids to play, or even go on a date. What are some of the underlying design decisions that create this Ikea experience?

What is being organized? Ikea organizes many different types of resources, including furniture, household goods and appliances, and food. Resources are not unique because there are many duplicate copies of the same resource, which can take different forms in each instance. The furniture that the customer sees and interacts with in the showroom is only the display copy of that furniture; what they actually purchase is another instance that is disassembled and stored in the warehouse. Similarly, customers can buy and consume warm and prepared foods in the cafeteria (Swedish meatballs with gravy), or they can purchase the same type of food in a packaged form to bring home (frozen Swedish meatballs). Apart from organizing the resources for sale, Ikea also organizes information about those resources in the form of physical reference ID tags on the furniture and digital descriptions of each resource that is displayed on the website.

Why is it being ...

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