Furniture chain Ikea wants to open a small city store in Brussels city centre, Ingka Group CEO Jesper Brodin says. However, the retailer wants to test first which concepts would work best in such a store.
“Brussels is on the list”
In a fast changing world, even iconic brands like Ikea need to update their business model. The retailer is currently trying out new concepts in several cities, such as furniture leasing, furniture assembly at the consumer’s home, as well as smaller city centre stores where customers can not take out the entire range from the shop, but they can have the items of their choice home-delivered. CEO Brodin is not prepared to commit to a firm number, but there is every chance that the concept will also be coming our way, he comments in this week’s issue of magazine Trends-Tendances: “We have identified the cities that are most important to us. And Brussels is on the list. We are currently in the trial phase in five cities. When this proves positive, we hope to launch in Brussels.”
However, the city model still needs work before it is finalised, Brodin stresses: “We need to ask ourselves a number of questions. First of all: which products do people want to take home right away and which products are they happy to have home-delivered? Few customers will buy a settee in the city centre to carry it home by themselves... Secondly: how do we supply the stores in the city centre, given modern-day traffic conditions? The location itself is paramount. Should we set up in the high earner quarters or do we take our business slightly more out towards the city outskirts, where we can reach people who are less well to do and who are more our kind of target group? These are the kind of things we are testing.”
In addition, Ikea is also testing smaller touch points where customers cannot actually buy products, but where they can call round for advice and information. ‘Click & collect’ collection points proved unsuccessful: people prefer to have their furniture pieces delivered at home. As it is, deliveries will never be free of charge: “It is not as though we are looking to make a lot of money on our home deliveries, but we do not want to lose money either.” In this respect, Ikea is in the fortunate position that it is able to use its existing stores as logistical warehouses.