It’s notable that Swedish flatpack and furniture giant Ikea doesn’t offer a comprehensive online offering. They prefer that we come and collect from their warehouse-like outlets with the hope we also pick up a bag of tea lights and a bowl of meatballs as we go around.
Indeed I recall working at eBay, more than a decade ag,o and attending a meeting between eBay and Ikea and an Ikea executive admitting that they would like to sell more online but they weren’t sure they could cope with fulfilment.
And of course, a sub-economy has emerged in the light of Ikea not going wildly digital: you’ll often see on eBay and Gumtree and elsewhere that enterprising individuals will take your orders and deliver them to you at more competitive terms, and more quickly, than Ikea itself. Often these entrepreneurs live in close proximity to an Ikea store.
But now it looks that Ikea wants to branch out and offer its goods on ecommerce platforms like Amazon starting in 2018. This makes a great deal of sense: Amazon and others are accomplished shippers and couriers with huge capacity and expertise. There is merit in plugging into their superior networks. And considering Ikea is in a position to do a deal with the likes of Amazon they can doubtless protect margins.
Torbjorn Loof of Ikea says: “On digital platforms, we only sell our products through our own website, and there we also see that the competitive landscape is changing. I leave unsaid on which platforms, but we will test and pilot, to see ‘what does this mean, what does digital shopping look like in future and what do digital shopping centres mean? There is a rapid change in the market where much of what we have learned and what we know of is changing radically.”
It’s worth noting that Amazon haven’t confirmed they will be stocking Ikea products any time in the future. But it’s hard to see why they wouldn’t.