Ikea turns its stores into warehouses

The Swedish furniture giant wants to use its flagships to prepare its orders online.

If Ikea still believes in the future of its stores, now it wants to use it to accelerate its online sales and better serve its customers. Ingka, which operates 90% of Ikea stores worldwide, announced on Monday that it will invest more than 3 billion euros by the end of 2023 to expand its global network and renovate its existing stores. This is 1 billion euros more than in the previous period. “More than ever, we want to optimize our network to deliver an inspiring shopping experience – no matter how and where our customers choose to shop with us.explains Tolga Öncü, operations director of the Ingka group. This investment aims to ensure the long-term viability of our business, making Ikea more accessible, more economical and more environmentally friendly.”especially when customers order online.

Ikea is no longer a small player in e-commerce. Its online sales have grown dramatically over the past two years. He makes more than 30% of his sales over the internet (35% in France), against 10% in 2019. But the Swede is not opposed to digital and the store. Like many other distributors (Zara, Kingfisher, owner of Castorama in France, Fnac Darty, etc.), he believes, on the contrary, that the store has a crucial role to play in improving the online shopping experience.

Delivery time cut in half

“Our stores continue to be one of our main strengthsexplains Tolga Öncü. We see that many of them already play a dual role. This investment will not only support an inspiring in-store experience, but also cheaper and faster delivery of online orders from stores. »

In France, the group built a mechanized tower at the Plaisir store, in Yvelines, in order to increase the spaces dedicated to order preparation, without reducing the space dedicated to the display of products.

Ikea has recently renovated several points of sale so that they can prepare orders placed online and ship them. The Kuopio store in Finland, for example, has just been rebuilt with this in mind, which has allowed it to cut delivery time across the country by half and reduce its cost by 40%. In France, the group built a mechanized tower at the Plaisir store, in Yvelines, in order to increase the spaces dedicated to order preparation, without reducing the space dedicated to the display of products.
In addition, with 392 stores on the periphery and 73 in the city center in 32 countries, Ikea believes it still has room to expand its physical network. “Even in our more mature markets, such as Germany or Spain, we will continue to invest because we still see good potential to develop our business”continues the operations director of the Ingka group.

Tests in the city center

Alongside the department stores on the outskirts, the group is opening an increasing number of stores in the city centre. A way to get closer to consumers who don’t want to waste time going to the big yellow and blue boxes that made the brand so successful. To find the right formula, Ikea multiplies the tests. In Paris, it opened a second store dedicated to decoration in June and a kitchen design and storage workshop in March. He plans to open a store dedicated to used Ikea furniture. Since the end of March, a test in Perpignan proposes to expose customers to the entire offer of Ikea in 9 m2, thanks to a projection system. New stores will also soon open in city centers in Stockholm, Toronto or Madrid.

But Ikea isn’t abandoning its historic format for all of this. He considers downtown stores to be complementary to his “BIG BOXES”. SWEDEN will open a 24,000 m2 suburban store on Wednesday in Nice, where he had dreamed of opening a store for several decades. For this four-year project, Ingka spent 120 million euros. This flagship will feature all products sold by Ikea in France. It will also be equipped with a mechanized tower designed to prepare online orders.

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