Ikea targets online sales with third party deals

Written by Chris Lemmon

Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is to start selling its furniture through third party e-commerce sites, in a bid to improve sales following a drop in footfall at its UK stores.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Torbjörn Lööf, chief executive of Inter Ikea, said: “[This] is the biggest development in how consumers meet Ikea since the concept was founded. Traditionally the whole Ikea value chain has been designed to deliver to stores. That is changing and it is challenging a number of ways of doing business. We are fast learners and we are moving.”

Amazon and Alibaba are touted as the likely destinations for Ikea to enter the online market, while the Swedish retailer is also trialling a new smaller city centre format.

Commenting on the news, Gill Holloway, sales director at Insight UK, said: “In a bid to become more accessible to its shoppers, Ikea’s move to start selling its products through third-party websites makes one thing clear – with consumer demand and expectations ever accelerating, it’s positive to see retailers speed up adoption of new offerings and services in light of these changing shopping habits.

“In an increasingly digitalised world, there have never been more opportunities for retailers to take advantage of the functionality that we, as consumers, have come to depend on in recent years. Further reinforced by the fact that a growing proportion of consumers were born into a world where mobile devices, social media and the internet are day-to-day companions, many consumers bring with them different expectations of how they want to engage with organisations.”

Ikea also recently unveiled a new augmented reality mobile app, which allows customers to visualise what products will look like in their homes before purchase.