BUSA 308: Principles of Marketing
5 May 2008
Group Assignment 2
For this assignment we chose to shop for a sofa. The two stores we will be
comparing are IKEA and Macy’s Furniture Gallery. The following answers refer to the
application exercise questions 1 thru 3.
Location: IKEA is located in Renton, WA. The area in which the store is located is
in the industrial warehouse zone of the city, meaning it is not a residential area. The area
is full of business campuses which make the location of the store warehouse ideal. The
area is not congested and there is ample parking everywhere. The store is easy to get to
and we would drive to it under normal circumstances.
Exterior atmosphere: The warehouse has a large parking garage, which
provides indoor parking for the customers. The store tends to be busy so parking is a
challenge. The lot is clean and has public restrooms for customer convenience. The area
is a business campus zone so there are other businesses around the area such as Home
Depot, Costco and Wal-Mart. The surrounding businesses increase traffic and direct
competition is nearby, for example Wal-Mart and Costco but both have a very limited
amount of furniture as opposed to IKEA which specializes in inexpensive, stylish
furniture. The building is large and crowded. The entrance is inviting and there is lots of
Interior atmosphere: The isles are large (between 5-7 feet wide on average).
Lighting is soft and the music is relaxing with occasional promotional messages. The
store layout is a bit confusing but interesting at the same time. The organization is based
on the living spaces in the house or apartment. For example, beds are located in the
bedroom section but there are also other pieces of furniture that belong in the bedroom
such as desks, chairs, lamps etc… There are arrows painted on the aisles which direct the
customers to their desired sections of the store. The furniture is not assembled so only
the item number and the isle where it is located in the warehouse are listed. Plenty of
pencils and paper are provided to write down the information. The description of the
product along with its dimensions and price are listed. There are plenty of associates that
can check availability for the product. The showrooms are well organized and appeal to a
younger, more hip crowd. The area of the store where the product is located is the actual
warehouse. It too is well organized and labeled appropriately and the products are easy
to find. The shelves are large and there are examples of the assembled products located
everywhere for easy reference. There are plenty of employees that can help look for
products and help with loading and unloading.
Product: The product we were looking for is a sofa and the product was
available in the store. We also found a suitable more inexpensive substitute if the one we
preferred was not available. We personally liked IKEA because of its layout and the
affordability of the furniture. The style more suited our tastes as well.
Price: The price was a major deciding factor. The price depended on the sofa
that we wanted and it was $500.00 for a basic three person sofa. It included a pullout bed
and the color was very funky and cool. The price, dimensions and colors of the sofa were
prominently marked as well as the location in the warehouse. We expected the price to
be about the same as the actual price. There were more expensive and better quality
pieces available but this one was good enough for our needs.
Macys Furniture Gallery
Location: Macys Furniture Gallery is located in Tacoma, WA right off I-
5 on 48th Street. It is directly across the bridge from an extremely congested shopping
area by the Tacoma Mall, where Macys is located. But the store itself is somewhat
secluded from any other shopping complex. Macys Furniture Gallery is surrounded by
neighborhoods but the traffic on 48th street is fairly busy. It is very convenient that the
store is located right off Interstate 5, and under normal circumstances I believe we would
travel to Macys Furniture Gallery.
Exterior Atmosphere: Macys has its own private parking lot,
surrounded by landscape and trees. There are no other stores around. It is on a hill that
over looks the freeway and the Tacoma Mall is visible over the bridge. The lot is
spacious and not crowded or busy. More than half the parking lot is empty so it is easy to
choose a space to park in whatever area of the lot preferred. The lot is rectangle shaped
and is wider than the store itself. The lot is clean with manicured bushes surrounding the
front doors to the gallery. There are steps that lead up to the glass front doors of Macy’s
gallery. The building has a modern and cement feel.
Interior Atmosphere: You walk through the huge glass front doors and
you are on a clean and shiny wide tile floor. There is an escalator in front of you with
gold colored trim and the ceilings are high. You can walk to your right or left, whichever
you prefer. The aisles are about 6 to 8 feet wide and you are flooded with natural light
coming through the doors behind you. A sales man immediately walks up to us in a crisp
suit and introduces himself by first name and wants to know our names. He shakes our
hands. He is very willing to help. He briefly asks us what we are looking for and lays
out the first floor as being sectioned off as traditional, modern, and classic styles of sofas
and furniture. All the reclining furniture, including the reclining sofas, is located on the
second floor. The salesman welcomes questions and then leaves us alone. The store was
fairly empty; this could have been due to the fact that we were there 20 minutes before
closing. There were between 4 and 6 other customers at the gallery. The cashier was
along the back wall; she smiled at us as we walked by. There were many styles of sofas
to choose from. Small designed areas of furniture were set up around the aisles we
walked through. Downstairs, the walk way made a huge half circle; the front doors took
up the whole front wall. Upstairs was more crowded with rugs and bed frames, as well as
the reclining furniture. Along the left wall was a walk in wear house. All the sales
people were friendly and professionally dressed.
The Product: There were many sofas to choose from. All sofas, fabric
and leather, came with color swatches to choose from. Some sofas had 3 colors to choose
from, others had up to 10. The styles combined with colors and fabrics were endless
seeming. The product you want is always available with the option of custom ordering.
The sofas seemed heavy duty and built to stand the test of time and wear and tear. The
feel of the store was high class and ritzy, therefore our perception of the quality of
Macy’s gallery was exceptional, and the price matched its perceived quality.
Price: The price of the sofas is prominently marked at Macys. Many of
the sofas are sold at a discount price when making a purchase of the sofa with another
item, for example when purchasing a chair or table of the same set. They had many
brands and styles available to choose from, and all the furniture we found to be quite
pricy. We were surprised at the price sometimes. Walking in we did not know exactly
what to expect as far as pricing went, but when the first sofa we looked at cost $4,846.00
we became accustomed to expect the rest of the furniture to also be quite pricy.
2) We both decided to purchase a sofa from IKEA. The primary reason for this
choice was the price. We are both college students and IKEA is affordable and appeals
to our style, well enough. Aside from the price, the quality of the sofas was somewhat
similar. The better quality furniture at IKEA was expensive but affordable, as compared
to Macy’s extremely high prices. The quality depended on the type of sofa. If one was in
need of a fancier leather sofa, IKEA has it and it is a bit cheaper than Macy’s but the
quality is about the same. Macy’s was appealing to an older more established crowd
looking to furnish a house and have the furniture last a long time. IKEA was more
appealing to a younger crowd that might not keep the furniture as long and may change
their style as they get older.
3) The 3 most important differences in the stores were price, location and
customer service. Macy’s customer service was superb. The salesman was
professionally dressed (suit). He greeted us as soon as we entered the store. He also
introduced himself. He asked for our names to establish some sort of relationship with
us. He was friendly and shook our hands. IKEA’s customer service is different. The
associates are around but leave the customers alone for the most part. There are lots of
salespeople and are easily identifiable due to their red shirts that say IKEA! The store
has an impersonal feel. The price was another major difference. Macy’s was very
expensive. The furniture was great quality and the price reflected that quality. IKEA
was affordable but there were pieces that were expensive and very good quality. IKEA is
more affordable overall. Another big difference was location. Macy’s is located across
from the mall and IKEA is located in a business zone in Seattle. Macy’s was small and
homely and IKEA is gargantuan!