IKEA gives furniture a second chance with its #Buyback promise

IKEA gives furniture a second chance with its #Buyback promise

The Background

I love IKEA.

You haters can say what you like but their seemingly unwavering commitment to a business strategy that does better for us and the planet is in full swing and I’m here for it.

Hege Sæbjørnsenhas’ profile is my LinkedIn La La Land (go follow, you’ll be delighted and if nothing else keeps you entirely up to date with all things IKEA).

Over the years IKEA hasn’t been shy about putting its promises into production.

It's worked toward 100% sustainable sourcing, building the Greenwich store as a ‘beacon of sustainability’ (even if they did demolish the UK’s most sustainable supermarket to build it!) and of course, sustainable homes, The Annual Life at Home Report, bye-bye to alkaline batteries, recycling rigour and let’s not forget the removal of red meat from their much-loved meatballs.

This year, at the World Economic Forum, IKEA launched its latest sustainability initiative, a ‘Buyback’ scheme

It’s filled with promise, underpinned by business commitment and infrastructure. 

Listen up folks because this is the beginning of the future and sets a very clear precedent way beyond furniture and home improvement.

The Big Idea

Buyback is a new initiative from IKEA designed to encourage customers to ‘sell’ back unwanted IKEA furniture in the UK and Ireland stores. 

Anyone who sells back an item will be given a gift card to spend in store for up to 50% of the value of the original price.

The trade-in tariffs look a little something like this for customers looking to cash in on their unwanted items:

As new – scratch-free: 50% of the original price.

Very good – minimal scratches: 40% of the original price.

Well-used – scratched up: 30% of the original price.

The items will become the stock for the rebranded Bargain Corner which will become the 'Sold-As-Is' area.

Black Friday is great for business but terrible for just about everything else. 

This new initiative will launch on Black Friday this year in the hope it will encourage customers to be more considered when it comes to excessive consumption as the business moves towards their 2030 goal of becoming entirely circular and climate positive.

The launch was uncomplicated.

IKEA picked its moment at WEF 2020, made a simple film explaining the concept and put out a press release. 


The Review

This is a masterclass in keeping it simple and knowing how to create brand acts that drive news, deliver on a business strategy, and do right by consumer expectations.

IKEA has a plan, some very public commitments, and the passion to make stuff happen. 

Some people might be of the opinion that this isn’t particularly creative - where’s the big campaign, what about fancy assets? 

In my opinion, this kind of creativity from IKEA is the hardest to get right. 

It’s a long-term commitment to changing the world and I can’t wait to see what ‘Buyback’ brings us next.

Building a brand that can credibly think this idea is one thing, but having a team that can make it into brand-building magic is something else.

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