Just read an interesting article by Gijs van Wulfen in about a key ingredient in Ikea's success, namely the self assembly component in their furniture and accessories.
A recent study of Harvard Business School, showing that participants who assemble products value them more highly than identical preassembled products. It is the sort of idea that has made the build-a-teddy-bear retail concept a success in Australia. Customers are prepared to pay a premium for teddy bears they design and make themselves. Basically it is a higher level of customer involvement and consistent with customers looking to "own" their retail choices.
At my stall I sell model yachts and I have always down played the 10 or 20 minutes of self assembly that each customer needs to put in. Maybe I should be making that a feature. Without giving away any secrets, one of our traders recently told me of a new concept he has introduced to his range that allows customers to influence the design of his core product.
Maybe this is something we should all be thinking about. Getting our customers involved and giving them more ownership of the product makes a lot of sense. A final word of warning from Gijs van Wulfen. Don’t make the self assembly too complicated. There are some who think Ikea gets close to the line on that.