Harvard Case Study: IKEA Invades America
Brief Description: In 2002, the IKEA Group is the world’s top furniture retailer, with 154 stores worldwide. In the U.S., IKEA operates fourteen stores, all of which have been tremendously popular despite the self-service burden they impose on customers. The company’s goal is to grow and have fifty stores in operation in the U.S. by 2013.
Objectives: Study fundamental topics in:
• Business and marketing strategy
• Competitive positioning
• Value creation
Preparation & Analysis
Before this week’s class session in preparation for the case study go online and, research and take down a few notes for yourself on a strategic marketing concept called “reverse positioning.” Ask yourself how does reverse positioning differ from breakaway positioning studied the week prior?
Next, read the IKEA case and prepare for a class discussion of the case by completing the following individual assignment to be turned in through ULearn. Try to use your newly developed understanding of this concept in your case analysis discussion below.
Individual Assignment: Before class, answer the following questions in an overall 2-3 page brief essay format.
1. What factors account for the success of IKEA?
2. What do you think of the company’s product strategy and product range? Do you agree with the matrix approach described in Figure B of the case? Why or why not?
3. What would an “IKEA lite” concept do for the brand? (smaller satellite stores with limited selection of impulse or staple items for sale)
4. At the time of the case, IKEA was very optimistic about their U.S. growth plans. How would you improve IKEA’s value proposition to make it even more attractive to the U.S. consumer than it already is?
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