Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ikea Family Card Program Overview

Ikea Family Card
Been to Ikea lately? Been asked to swipe your Ikea Family card while checking out and wondered what was going on? You're in the right place then because I was completely lost for a few visits in the past year while checking out.

I don't know, but I filter a lot of things out when I go to stores, especially when they're asking you to sign up for something. This, of course, included the Ikea kiosks or computers distributed at the entrance and checkout areas of stores -- okay, the whole one machine at the entrance and other one just before the checkout area at my main store. Well, it seems like my concerns were misplaced.

On the American side of the border, the Ikea Family program appears to have been out for a while. I can't pin a date down, but I'm seeing advertisements on the interwebs from at least 2011. The program also appears to be pretty well adopted throughout the country.

If you're Canadian, then we appear to have gotten it later. Mr. Google is pointing towards 2012. And it's only available at the Etobicoke, North York, Ottawa, and Vaughan locations at the time of writing this post.


Okay, so what could you get for giving your name and contact info to Ikea according to their website?
  • Free to sign up (if you don't value your privacy?).
  • Monthly discounts on products (varies by store).
  • Ikea restaurant discounts.
  • Return policy of 90 days versus the regular 45 days.
  • Free tea/coffee at the Ikea restaurant "every time".
  • An extra 30 minutes from Monday to Friday at the Smaland for kids.
  • A free frozen yogurt when you first get your card.*
  • $100 gift card draw per purchase.**
*Doesn't say on the Canadian website, but the receipt I got when picking up the card said so.
**Again, doesn't say on the website, but when I swipe and pay at the store, it says I'm entered.

After checking both the United States and Canadian websites, and supplementing my in-store experience in Canada, the programs appear to be exactly the same.


Coffee and tea are nice, as is a free frozen treat, and a fairly impossible chance to win a $100 gift card, but the key attraction is probably the furniture discount for most people. Not necessarily: you could try to live out of the store and get as much coffee or tea as possible. Survive on sugar packets?

From the looks of it, discounts vary from store to store in both Canada and the US. They also change from month to month and a different number of products go on sale -- I count 16 on the US site and 28 on the Canada site while writing this.

There is a mix of expensive and cheap items and the discounts are pretty substantial if I'm to believe the "Regular Price" noted on the website. I saw lower priced items reduced by 50% and up, and more expensive items get a discount of more than 10% and even beyond 50% for one item (PAX doors anyone?). Considering the size of Ikea's catalogue of products, you probably shouldn't hold your breath if you're hoping to snatch a highly coveted item on sale. If it happens, it'd be a nice surprise though.

How to Sign Up

Go to the American or Canadian website, follow the procedure under "Want to join?". For Canadians, you should, from my experience, have to select your home store since not all locations are up and running yet. After that, put in your email address, name, city, province, postal code, online account password, secret answer, and preference for "literature". Note that it doesn't appear that you have to give your exact address, but my postal code nails me down to one side of a street and <5 houses, so... You should then be given a 2D barcode (one of those fancy new ones for smartphones) that you print off and take to the store to use at one of those terminals. Supposedly, you scan it and your card comes right out from the kiosk.

I haven't tried the US one, but it appears that you have to give your email first. Whether more information is required or not, I don't know. My research online suggests that the sign up process is similar to Canada's with the need to print off a barcode and scan it in store. Good luck!

My online sign up experience:

I followed the Canadian instructions -- got impulsive one night. I filled everything out on a computer, printed the barcode out, went to the store, went up to the kiosk, then went "wtf". There was a camera-like scanner for 2D barcodes available, but no option was available on the screen to do the scan. After researching online, it appears that you are just suppose to walk up the machine and flash the barcode in front of the scanner without doing anything.

Since I signed up a month before getting a chance to go to the store, I forgot my password and email address (I have many...) when trying to log into my account. Woops. What I ended up doing was just signing up for a new account -- FML.

The Card

The card that comes out of the machine looks like the one below. There are two pieces to it: a regular credit card sized card and an extra tear-off keychain card. I was completely confused when I saw the second piece attached and had to ask a "Coworker" what it was for. Turns out, it is a keychain attachment in case you forget to bring your main card. On the other side of the keychain card is a barcode with your card number (hence why I flipped it over), and on the side you can see, there is a magnetic strip. I haven't tried the strip yet, but I'm guessing that it works in the swipe machines despite the size.
Ikea Family Card with Keychain Attachment
It's free and you get free stuff for signing up. Go for it.