Ikea reopens stores, offers video advice

Logo retailer Ikea
Image: MDOGAN / Shutterstock.com

Ikea has stated it hopes to reopen its European stores from the end of April. In the meantime, the chain is offering advice by video conference in Belgium. The coronavirus crisis has already cost the Swedish company 60 % of its turnover.

 

From 28 April

In the Netherlands, Ikea stores will reopen on 28 April following strict conditions. The thirteen stores will only be allowed to accommodate a limited number of customers at the same time, and the restaurant and the Småland children's area will remain closed for the time being.

 

In May, more stores will reopen elsewhere in Europe, CEO Jesper Brodin told the Reuters news agency. He now estimates that each store will be closed for a maximum of eight weeks. So far, Ikea has seen its sales fall by 60 %. E-commerce now accounts for about half of the group's turnover, but is not able to compensate for the consequences of the store closures.

 

Online advice via video conference

Pending the reopening of its physical stores in Belgium, Ikea now offers personalised advice via video conference. Consumers can make an appointment online and get half an hour of free advice from a member of the chain's staff. They can help them create a shopping list for an office, bathroom or baby and children's room. 

 

During these online appointments, Ikea employees can also help customers to compose wardrobes and storage solutions, or advise them on the choice of a bed and mattress. Products can then be ordered online with a single click.

 

90 % recovery by September

Ikea is already preparing for the post-coronavirus era: as a crisis often causes a baby boom and an economic recession, the furniture store invests in a larger stock of baby products, price reductions and an expansion of its low-price offer. While e-commerce is now experiencing strong growth - the turnover generated by online sales doubled during the corona crisis - Brodin also confirmed his ambitions to focus more on small showrooms and urban stores.

 

In China, sales have already reached pre-crisis levels. Ikea expects to have recovered about 90 % by September. Nevertheless, it will "without any doubt" be a tougher year for the Swedish chain.