Why would the world’s largest furniture retailer reinvent itself?
That question takes on more relevance every day as Ikea, almost weekly, makes news with a series of tests, rollouts, acquisitions and partnerships aimed at reinventing its business model. From its 2017 acquisition of TaskRabbit to its more recent efforts to launch a furniture leasing model, develop smaller scale “planning centers” and, most recently, an e-commerce platform that could include competitors’ products, the global furniture giant is on a mission to re itself.
Any one of these initiatives would be considered a major undertaking, but for a company that owns or franchises more than 400 stores in 50 markets in more than 35 countries, the effort to effect change across such a far-flung organization represents a near Herculean task.
Not that all of these initiatives are being implemented across the full organization. At present, it is more experimentation within individual markets and individual sub-segments. Nevertheless, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the world’s largest furniture retailer has decided that doing the same thing and expecting the same results is no longer an option.
And if a retailer with Ikea’s market position, resources, sourcing capabilities and brand power has decided it needs a reinvention, what does that say for the rest of the retail furniture business?
For anyone who’s been sitting back telling themselves that Wayfair will crash under its own unprofitability, that Amazon can’t really deliver full-size furniture, that consumers won’t really buy unless they can try, this should be a wake-up call. And let’s not forget, Ikea has long had such amenities as on-site restaurants, baby sitting and ball pits for kids. They know a thing or two about “experience” and still have determined that a new generation of consumers will require new formats, new touchpoints and new services when it comes to furniture shopping.
It would be easy to dismiss the lessons of Ikea’s shift by focusing on individual elements that may not apply to your business, but that would be missing the larger point. At a time of great change, when so many aspects of consumers’ lives are being changed by technology, the willingness to explore new alliances, new practices and even entirely new formats is crucial to those looking to thrive in the coming years.
If the world’s largest furniture retailer feels the need to adapt, how much more important is it for everyone else. The real lesson is not what Ikea is changing but THAT it is changing. And that’s a lesson from which we could all benefit.
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536 viewed times. / 19-03-2019 added.
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