London calling

To be much more accessible to people living or working in cities, we are taking a different approach than we do with the well-known, more traditional IKEA store. To thrive in these bright and bustling spaces, we need to adapt to meet the needs of the city and the communities within them.

In today’s retail environment, people want to shop in a number of different ways and expect brands to offer them services that reflect the way they live. By bringing the IKEA brand into cities we can be even closer to our customers and make our affordable offer even more accessible to the many people.

A new city approach

Going into cities represents a new era for us. We will open new city formats in 30 prioritised cities around the world over the next three years. By building insights on market potential, we will invest the time and effort to develop a deep understanding of life at home in every individual city. The key driver is for us to understand how to reach more of the many people in an affordable, accessible and sustainable way.

Cities are living, breathing spaces that can change in a single day, so it’s essential for us to develop a deeper understanding. ”When we talk about an increased presence in cities, we’re not just talking about the city centre, we mean in the totality”, says Jette Jørgensen, Expansion Manager, Ingka Group, “We want to be more accessible to the many, so we need to be where people live, work and socialise. Of course, having central locations will help us with this, but we will offer even more than that.”

One city where these plans are well underway is London, England.

Different formats

The UK is one of Ingka Group’s biggest markets, and London is one of the most populated cities in Europe, so it makes sense that this is one of our top 30 cities. Previously, we had two traditional IKEA stores, but these were located on the outer limits of the city and we wanted to find a way to be more accessible to the eight million people who live there.

Now, we have an order and collection point in a large shopping mall, and a brand-new store planned in Greenwich to be opened in the beginning of February 2019. We also have a new format that is now open in the very center of London on Tottenham Court Road – the IKEA Planning Studio.

Some purchases and projects are more complicated than others. When people want a new kitchen or bedroom, it’s a process that takes time and dedication. With our planning studio, people can book times with co-workers to talk about their ideas, needs and dreams. This allows us to inspire our customers, and show them how our solutions can work for them.

“This is a kitchen planning studio, which means that people can meet IKEA in the very centre of London, and get the inspiration and assistance they need,” says Janie Bisset, City Development Manager, London, IKEA Retail UK&IE. “However, you can also purchase the entire range in-store using our digital services. You can then choose to have everything delivered home, or to one of our pick-up points.”

So far, the location at Tottenham Court Road has been a success, and there are two other planning studios scheduled to open in different parts of London. The new IKEA store in Greenwich, which will be the more traditional IKEA store, will have a big focus on sustainability. When it’s operational, it will be one of our leading sustainable stores.

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"The IKEA Planning Studio on Tottenham Court Road is the first step in our new city approach, as we respond to exciting new opportunities, such as the growth of city living and changing consumer needs and lifestyles. Our new city centre Planning Studios will give customers an easy and convenient way to get the advice and inspiration they need to browse, plan and order large scale projects, with specialist one-on-one support from our co-workers."

Janie Bisset, City Development Manager, London, IKEA Retail UK&IE

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"The IKEA Planning Studio on Tottenham Court Road is the first step in our new city approach, as we respond to exciting new opportunities, such as the growth of city living and changing consumer needs and lifestyles. Our new city centre Planning Studios will give customers an easy and convenient way to get the advice and inspiration they need to browse, plan and order large scale projects, with specialist one-on-one support from our co-workers."

Janie Bisset, City Development Manager, London, IKEA Retail UK&IE

Options and opportunities

We’ve tried a number of different initiatives so far. The long term goal is to have different proven and scalable formats that we can choose from, based on our knowledge of a city. We will then be more relevant in each new city. “We need to identify the needs of each place, as there are so many variables,” Jette concludes. “It could be the people that live there, what they want from home furnishing, or whether it’s mainly a business to business area. It could be somewhere where there’s a bigger focus on sustainability.

We really need to meet the people where they are, and integrate in the communities around us. That way, we can become an important part of people’s everyday lives.