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This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either ... they are similar, but not exactly the same. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.

Hi, Kevin Coupe here and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

This morning’s FaceTime commentary was recorded at the Ikea Planning Studio, a roughly 17,000 square foot space on Manhattan’;s East Side - far smaller and more convenient than the monstrous Ikea stores in New Jersey and Connecticut that may be 15 times the size.

Essentially, the NYC Ikea is designed to be a place where people can see small, urban spaces laid out for inspiration, and then access both the talents of the room planners and computer terminals to design rooms and order products. You can also pick up orders there, if you wish. You can make appointments, or just come in and browse … but the idea is that Ikea is expanding its usefulness to shoppers, especially those living in places like New York City.

Expanding its usefulness … and also its resonance and relevance.

You can see more about it here.

That’s a good idea, on all sorts of levels. I think it was Tina Fey who once said that Ikea is where marriages to go to die. And this approach is right in line with other things that Ikea has been doing, like providing not just delivery, but also construction services that will build the furniture for customers. (Good idea, I think - because if shopping at Ikea isn’t enough to kill a relationship, building its furniture almost certainly will.)

And, as Reuters reports this week, “Ikea is launching a new app to allow customers to shop remotely for products they can visualize in the context of their own homes, lessening the need for them to travel to its vast network of self-service, out-of-town stores … It will allow users to visualize how their homes could be furnished with Ikea products by inputting room dimensions and choosing from different tastes and life stages. They can then order those products through the app.”

Like I said, expanding its usefulness, resonance and relevance.

This is, I believe, an important and evolving approach to retail on Ikea’s part - understanding that it cannot just be a big source of product, but most become a more accessible resource for shoppers.

And it is a lesson that more retailers should learn, as they look to become more to shoppers than they have been in the past. It is the next generation of stores, developed to appeal to the next generation of consumers that increasingly is becoming more urban.

That’s what is on my mind this morning, and as always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

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