Your flat-pack dreams are a click away as Ikea delivers

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Your flat-pack dreams are a click away as Ikea delivers

Ikea Korea is launching an ecommerce service to deliver its furniture nationwide starting this weekend, the company announced Wednesday.

Local fans of the Swedish furniture giant have been waiting years for the new service to be introduced. Despite a hugely successful launch in Korea four years ago, the furniture company only has two stores in Gwangmyeong and Ilsan, Gyeonggi. Until now, its website only allowed consumers to browse products but not place orders.

“We officially launch our ecommerce channel on Sept. 1 to our customers to be accessible for many in Korea,” said Andre Schmidtgall, Ikea Korea’s country retail manager on Wednesday during a press conference held in southern Seoul. “Because we only have two spots, it’s a big step for us on behalf of all our customers.”

Online orders can be placed through the website and mobile app, with most of Ikea’s 9,500 items available to be ordered online.

If the selected item weighs less than 25 kilograms (55 pounds), the delivery fee is typically set at 5,000 won ($4.50), while for larger furniture items the cost will be 59,000 won for a total purchase under 2.5 tons. For large deliveries to Jeju, the fare will go up to 109,000 won.

Now that Ikea has a distribution center here, Schmidtgall stressed that a major aim for the company is to become a leading multichannel retailer here. In fact, Ikea’s third Korean store is currently under construction at Giheung District, Yongin, and is set to open at the end of next year. The company recently acquired land to build a branch in Busan.

A brick-and-mortar strategy that is closely linked to Ikea Korea’s ecommerce launch is the introduction of city-center stores, a strategy Ikea is currently adopting in numerous other cities around the world. Unlike typical warehouse stores with a huge amount of floor space dedicated to model rooms, city center stores are smaller operations in more populated areas. Their purpose is to function as small showrooms with actual purchases made through its online channel.

“We have a task force in Korea to look into the possibilities [of city stores],” said Schmidtgall. The first example opened today at Gallery Yeh in Sinsa District, southern Seoul.

Korea has been Ikea’s fastest growing market since 2014. Between September and August, Ikea Korea raked in 471.6 billion won in sales, a 29 percent increase year on year.


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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