And because of its strong position, IKEA is better poised to thrive in the ecommerce age. According to this recent article in the Economist:
First, they are opening new stores in the heart of big cities, even as other retailers move out! These new stores let IKEA do "showrooming" stocking only a few products so internet buyers can touch and feel the products and also see how whole furnished rooms look like:
As other retailers are driven off the high street, partly because of competition from big-box stores like the company is heading into the heart of London, Paris and New York as part of an expansion into 30 city centres. It is not only examining where it puts its shops. Though woke up late to the importance of e-commerce, it is using the shock as an opportunity to rethink its business model
The company’s strong brand and balance-sheet give it freedom to have a “test-and-fail” approach, rather than “being in a panic to do something”, he says. It has three big tasks ahead: redefining sales measures, logistics and the whole concept of the store.
As it ships more of its products to people’s homes, it has to bear in mind online purchases, delivery and assembly. In 2017 bought TaskRabbit, a gig-economy startup that can spare customers the grief of assembling furniture with an Allen key and a wordless instruction manual. Logistics is another factor. As people shop online, they demand speedy delivery. Part of this comes via ’s stand-alone warehouses.
This feeds into the third challenge—changing the purpose of the store. Rather than always stocking the full range of products, the priority in smaller stores is to allow customers to “touch and feel” items they have seen online. That means stores can keep less inventory. Meanwhile, space is freed for displays of kitchens and other rooms, with staff on hand to offer home-furnishing advice.
This switch to more personalised service will be particularly evident in the city centres. In Tottenham Court Road [London], the outlet is a “planning centre”, where no money or goods change hands. This is aimed at online shoppers who need humans to talk to about design without having to travel to suburbia