The first of Ikea’s small-format stores in Australia will open at Westfield Warringah Mall on Sydney’s northern beaches next month.
Dubbed a “Home Planning Studio”, the pilot concept promises an entirely different type of experience to the traditional slow walk through the Ikea showroom.
Instead, customers will sit down for one-on-one consultations with an Ikea employee to plan and build their kitchen and bedroom. Orders can be placed for home delivery or store pick-up.
The new store will have a number of planning stations and tablets. Its design is “inspired by Scandinavian modern style and the Ikea design values of sustainability, quality, form, function and affordability”, the company said in a press release.
“The luxe bedroom environment will transport shoppers to a hub of femininity through floral scents and classic detailing, giving shopper’s access to better wardrobe storage solutions,” it said.
“Created with the eco-friendly shopper in mind, a soothing wellness sanctuary will host a variety of kitchen solutions, shaping a space ideal for inspiring food preparation and entertaining.”
Ikea Australia chief executive Jan Gardberg said depending on the customer response to the four-month trial he could see anywhere from five to eight small-format locations around Sydney, followed by Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
“We’ve now invested in our fulfilment and distribution network (for delivery), that was the key cornerstone we needed to get in place before we started to launch these different formats,” Mr Gardberg said.
“Customers will be able to order any part of the range we have online but the starting point now is giving extra focus to bedroom and kitchen, because we know these are the places where customers want to buy a total solution, not just a single product.”
Mr Gardberg said these were products that “usually take a little bit longer to purchase” and were “not just an impulse buy”. “You can spend quality time to discuss your kitchen, bedroom and wardrobe plans,” he said.
“It could be you don’t decide there but walk away with some ideas, a plan, maybe some drawings and a price estimate. Then it’s up to you if you want to make the purchase in the store or just want to place the order.”
Ikea is also developing a slightly larger style of small-format store that does sell some smaller items like homewares and furnishings. “This is the absolute smallest type of Ikea customer touchpoint that we are starting with, between 100 square metres and 1500 square metres,” he said.
“We’re investigating maybe between 5000-12,000 square metre type stores. These will also offer some instant gratification so you can shop and take something with you back home, but this requires a totally different type of logistical set-up. That is still under development, we are working on it in the background.”
Mr Gardberg said Ikea was starting with the extra-small stores based on customer feedback, and that the goal with all the new formats was to improve access.
“We hope by putting them into places where customers go on an almost daily basis we can make it more convenient,” he said. “Our (big) stores will continue to play a major role in this but we realise sometimes you only have 30 minutes to spare.”