IKEA RESPONSE TO AMAZON’S SHOPPING LURE – INTERNATIONAL

Having given careful thought to current marketing practices through its large-warehouse configurations in somewhat distant locations, IKEA has determined that it will open city-centre locations in a variety of countries.

The first in the U.S. will be in Midtown Manhattan, across the street from Bloomingdale’s.  According to Lars Peterson, IKEA’s U.S. head, the Midtown store will offer “lots of solutions for extremely small spaces.”  Visitors to the store will be able to see the furniture in the store, ask questions of staff, and place orders for merchandise while there.  IKEA plans to open 30 of these locations in large city centers, having just completed the opening of two such stores in London and Madrid.  For the New York area, IKEA’s Brooklyn warehouse-style store will remain in operation but will be refurbished.  The company made the decision to open smaller, show-case stores after hearing complaints from customers that they wouldn’t make the trek to Brooklyn but would like to be able to see the merchandise in person and get advice on such things as designing kitchens, laying out living rooms from IKEA employees.  The new approach is an over-all effort to woo customers who characteristically shop online, but express interest in viewing the IKEA furniture and other merchandise in a store.  It’s worth noting that Amazon, itself, is setting up storefronts, beginning in New York.  A coming revolution for the revisiting of brick and mortar sales approaches but with a modern-day twist, perhaps.  To accommodate these expansions, IKEA will revamp its staffing, laying off office workers and creating new positions in retail and technology.

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