IKEA and Alibaba on Tuesday announced the opening of the IKEA virtual store on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Tmall.
This is the first time IKEA will offer its products and home furnishing solutions through an external e-commerce platform, marking an important milestone for the IKEA China’s “Future+” strategy, which was launched in August last year. Being more accessible and digitalisation are two crucial parts of this plan.
The virtual IKEA store on Tmall will offer Chinese consumers access to around 3,800 IKEA products, including top selling icons such as HEMNES and NORDVIKEN, and home furnishing solutions, complementing the existing sales channels.
The virtual store will offer the same services provided as existing sales channels, including home delivery, assembly and product return. The partnership with Alibaba also enables IKEA to become more accessible for the many people in China and also allows it to test and learn how to meet customers in a new way. Based on this test IKEA will evaluate if and how third-party platforms fit into the IKEA channel mix.
“We are continuously exploring how we can make IKEA home furnishing solutions and range more accessible as we want to deliver to the IKEA vision of creating a better everyday life for the many people. The launch of the virtual store at Tmall is truly exciting and we believe that it will complement existing sales channels such as our IKEA stores and e-commerce as we come closer to our customers in China,” says Tolga Öncü, Retail Operations Manager, Ingka Group.
In recent years, IKEA has been testing new formats and solutions in various markets around the world to increase accessibility to IKEA, including the opening of smaller shops, planning studios, IKEA apps, and new service solutions, among others.
“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, digitalisation and sharing our home furnishing expertise with the many Chinese customers. Joining the Tmall platform is a significant milestone for the IKEA China strategy and breakthrough in our omnichannel. We are very happy to work together with Alibaba’s 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.
In addition to the virtual IKEA store at Tmall store, IKEA China and Alibaba will also explore different ways of cooperation, such as analysing the changes and future trends of life at home among Chinese consumers in the fast-growing online consumption environment.
“It is truly exciting for us to help IKEA exploring online channels and to enable more Chinese consumers to purchase IKEA products with greater convenience. And the collaboration with IKEA will also help Tmall to further consolidate our leading position in China’s e-commerce industry,” said Jiang Fan, President of Taobao, President of Tmall.
IKEA entered the Chinese market in 1998 and has 30 IKEA stores across the country, besides e-commerce on IKEA.cn. In addition to opening up on Tmall, IKEA Retail China continues to invest in existing and new stores, expanding fast by opening more physical stores and exploring new store formats such as city shops, planning studios and smaller stores, all to create a better everyday life for the many people in China.
The virtual IKEA store can be reached here.