On March 10, 2020, the world’s leading home furnishing retailer IKEA opened a virtual store at Tmall. This is the first time that IKEA will offer IKEA products and home furnishing solutions through an e-commerce platform outside of IKEA and thereby marks an important milestone for IKEA China Future + strategy, as well as worldwide.
The virtual IKEA store at Tmall will offer Chinese consumers access to IKEA in a new and virtual environment, a seamless and convenient shopping experience that is a complement to existing sales channels.
“Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our transformational journey started 18 months ago and is focused around accessibility, digitalization and sharing our home furnishing expertise with the many Chinese customers. Joining the Tmall platform is a significant milestone for IKEA China strategy and breakthrough in our omnichannel. We are very happy to work together with Alibaba, the world’s leading ecommerce service provider, and to better meet the needs of the Chinese consumers, whenever and wherever they choose”, says Anna Pawlak-Kuliga, CEO, IKEA China (Ingka Group).
“IKEA is the world’s leading home furnishing retailer and loved by many Chinese consumers,” said Jiang Fan, president of Tmall and Taobao at Alibaba Group. “It is truly exciting for us to help IKEA explore online channels and to enable more Chinese consumers to purchase IKEA products with greater convenience. The collaboration with IKEA also demonstrates that Tmall continues to be the major platform for international brands’ digital operations and the gateway to China.”
The virtual IKEA store at Tmall will provide about 3800 IKEA products including many of the top selling icons such as HEMNES and NORDVIKEN and offer the same services provided in existing sales channels, including home delivery, assembly and product return. After a couple of months of preparation the online IKEA store at Tmall is now ready to serve customers in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui and will gradually expand to other provinces and cities.
In addition to the IKEA Tmall store, IKEA China and Alibaba will also explore different ways of cooperation, such as analyzing the changes and future trends of life at home among Chinese consumers in the fast-growing online consumption environment.
Since entering the Chinese mainland market in 1998, IKEA has not only witnessed the development and transformation of Chinese life at home, but also the changes in people’s consumption habits as e-commerce penetrated into all aspects of their lives. Regardless of the era or market environment, IKEA has always been aiming at providing consumers with easy access to home furnishing inspirations and products. In last August, IKEA China announced its “Future+” strategy for the Chinese market, among which, accessibility and digitalization are two crucial parts. In addition to collaborating with Tmall, IKEA China has also started to provide e-commerce service on its official website at the end of 2018 and launched the official IKEA APP today in order to meet the diverse needs of consumers through multi-channel. Meanwhile, IKEA always believes that the offline immersive shopping experience is the essence of home furnishing retailing and an important way for IKEA to build connections with consumers. Therefore, IKEA China is also upgrading its existing stores and expanding rapidly by opening more physical stores and exploring new-store formats such as small-sized stores and city-center stores that are closer to consumers.