During times of disruption and challenge, the very best find a way to persevere. They reimagine and reinvent, driving innovation and creativity, in order to not only withstand the turbulence faced, but to continue laying the foundations of future growth and success. One such company that is never short on innovation and creativity is IKEA Canada, which recently announced the launch of its first Canadian Planning Studio in Boisbriand, Quebec. Meant to inspire its customers, the brand-new location is part of a larger strategy for the company, which intends to begin rolling out additional Planning Studios across the country as it continues its Canadian expansion. And, according to Eri Mathy, Country Business Development Manager, IKEA Canada, it’s a concept and expansion strategy that’s been developed with a focus on the evolving needs of the IKEA Canada customer.
“IKEA Canada has been on a journey to enhance our retail experience to be more affordable and convenient, while accelerating our investments to meet customers in the best possible way, wherever, whenever and however they choose to shop with us,” says Mathy. “The Planning Studio concept is part of a global ambition to bring a new world of IKEA to our customers. There are currently more than 30 IKEA Planning Studios globally in cities such as Copenhagen, Berlin, London and New York. It presents a new concept for the Canadian market and will be an inspiring space with the IKEA look and feel, offering customers planning and ordering services with knowledgeable IKEA design specialists.”
Greater convenience and accessibility
Responsible for leading the expansion efforts here in Canada, Mathy describes the Planning Studio concept as “much smaller” than a traditional IKEA location. In fact, the location in Boisbriand, coming in at 9,547 square feet, is approximately one-tenth the size of the average IKEA Canada store and is situated in a prime location within the Faubourg Boisbriand shopping center on Montreal’s North Shore. It’s a location that Mathy says was carefully and deliberately selected as part of the company’s expansion strategy, explaining that it serves as the perfect testing ground for the selection of future locations as IKEA Canada continues to introduce the concept across the country.
“The new IKEA Planning Studio Boisbriand will be located at Faubourg Boisbriand, one of the area’s most prominent shopping centres,” she asserts. “We want to make it easier for more customers to experience our products and services, and we know that there is significant travel time for North Shore residents to shop at our current IKEA locations in the Greater Montreal Area. This desirable location is highly accessible and a destination shopping area for many residents. By opening a Planning Studio in this location, we will be able to meet many more North Shore residents and support them with custom design needs, closer to home.”
Expanding IKEA ecosystem
It’s a move and introduction to the market that’s emblematic of the storied retailer’s penchant to consistently increase its understanding of the customers it serves, getting closer to them to better satisfy their needs. And, given our recent and current circumstances surrounding the global pandemic and its sustained impacts, they are consumer needs that are rapidly changing. As Mathy points out, consumers are increasingly seeking greater convenience and accessibility. However, she adds that the Planning Studio not only helps to satisfy these growing expectations, it also adds a completely new layer to the IKEA experience, allowing customers to design, order, and purchase complex home furnishing systems for their kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms. It’s all part of what Mathy describes as a larger global strategy, one that seems to be going a long way toward bolstering the retailers integrated retail ecosystem.
“The IKEA Planning Studio Boisbriand is part of a total IKEA market approach in Montreal, which includes introducing new experiences in our existing stores, enhancing our service offer and fulfilment and creating new IKEA meeting places,” she explains. “This unique shopping format allows you to design your living space with the help of an IKEA specialist. The difference is that instead of taking products home with you, you discover the look and style for your living space, design it with the help of an IKEA specialist, and then have the products shipped directly to your home or a nearby pick-up location.”
Meeting evolving consumer needs
Mathy goes on to explain that IKEA has ambitious expansion plans that are aimed at continuously enhancing and elevating the experience it offers its Canadian customers, whenever and wherever they want to engage with the brand. She says that although the strategy is clear within the company, the timing and locations of future Planning Studios have not yet been finalized. The new concept, however, represents but one of a number of initiatives that the company is developing in its unwavering effort and commitment toward consistently and significantly raising the bar concerning customer service and engagement. And, as Mathy points out, it’s work that the company is doing with a focus on meeting evolving consumer needs and lifestyles.
“In addition to making our IKEA experience more accessible to more Canadians across the country, we continue to focus on making the IKEA brand more affordable and sustainable for our Canadian customers, too. Canadians will continue to see enhancements to our convenient services, digital planning tools and shopping experiences to meet the increased digitalization of the world around us. At the same time, however, we will continue to share products and inspiration to help more people live sustainably at home. IKEA Canada customers will also begin to see their home delivery orders arrive via zero-emission EV trucks. And we expect to see even more Canadians exploring our Sell-Back service as we all endeavour to reduce, reuse and reimagine sustainable ways forward.”