IKEA Canada is planning to open its second new Plan and Order concept store on October 12th in Kitchener, Ontario, after the successful launch of the innovation in July in Boisbriand, Quebec.
The IKEA Planning and Ordering Centre is a space where customers can connect with IKEA specialists and create custom layouts that meet their needs and dreams. Purchases made at the Planning and Ordering Centre may be delivered directly to customers’ homes or picked up at an IKEA pick-up point.
Eri Mathy, Head of Business Development & Transformation at IKEA Canada, said the launch of the first concept store in about 9,000 square feet in mid-July has been very successful.
“It’s been fantastic. I was there for the opening and it was fantastic to have our stores in the Montreal market . . . We had customers waiting for us to open that day and one customer bought two kitchens on the first opening day which was fantastic. She had been waiting for us, which is kind of a signal that customers were wanting us to be there and help them with their planning,” she said.
“We also saw that the bookings for the planning, you need to book in advance to make an appointment, it was booked up for the first six weeks so that’s also a great sign that our customers were really keen to get the service.”
Mathy said the Kitchener store will open on October 12th and it will be slightly bigger than the Boisbriand store at about 10,000 square feet. The concept, which is part of the retailer’s global strategy in more than 30 countries now, will eventually roll out to more locations in Canada but no firm numbers have been established.
Mathy said the concept is much more intimate than the larger format stores with dedicated space where a customer can quietly plan one-on-one with an IKEA specialist.
Liz Wilson, IKEA Canada Customer Fulfillment Manager, said the new concept stores as well as other IKEA initiatives such as downtown stores and IKEA Design Studios, combined with its online presence, are transforming the need for services on how the retailer gets the goods to its customers.
“Our model has always been that our customer would come to the standard IKEA store and take the product home,” she said.
So the company has invested in various alternatives to that including pick-up points such as the Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver markets working with partner PenguinPickUp where customers can pick up orders. And of course, there’s home delivery.
“But we’ve also expanded our service on what type of home delivery offer do you want. If you look at some markets, it’s still okay that it will be a truck delivery and it will arrive anytime in a certain time window,” she said.
“We’ve made huge developments in store fulfillment. So we’re using the existing stores to also do the click and collect and the lockers but also using the existing stores to do the truck home delivery and then in some markets like Halifax and Winnipeg we’re also doing partial delivery from those and those two markets are taking bigger areas. Also to build on the sustainable services and sustainable way of fulfillment.
“The fulfillment side for me always starts with the services to meet our customer in this new omni landscape and then how we’re investing in our units . . . We also have four central fulfillment units.”
Wilson added that the retailer has the ambition with its home delivery to be zero emissions.
GTA-based BUILD-IT is working with IKEA for the project buildouts.