Ikea is testing third-party platform waters by opening a virtual store on Tmall.
Through this partnership with Alibaba, Ikea intends to become more accessible for Chinese consumers. The Swedish home furnishings giant also plans to use its store on Alibaba’s Tmall e-commerce platform to test and learn new methods of meeting customers. Based on this test, Ikea will evaluate if and how third-party platforms fit into its channel mix.
The virtual Ikea store on Tmall will offer around 3,500 Ikea products and home furnishing solutions. In recent years, Ikea has been testing new retail formats across different channels in various markets around the world to increase accessibility to Ikea. Examples of this are the opening of smaller shops, planning studios, Ikea apps, and new service solutions. Ikea has also launched e-commerce in more than 50 markets.
“At Ikea, we are very proud of our iconic Ikea store, with more than one billion visitors every year worldwide,” said Jon Abrahamsson Ring, managing director of Inter Ikea Systems B.V. “At the same time, we’re always curious about how to improve and learn. We are happy about this collaborating with Alibaba. I’m convinced that we will learn a lot from this test.”
“Ikea is the world's leading home furnishing retailer and loved by many Chinese consumers,” said Jiang Fan, president of Tmall and Taobao at Alibaba Group. “It is truly exciting for us to help Ikea explore online channels and to enable more Chinese consumers to purchase Ikea products with greater convenience. The collaboration with Ikea also demonstrates that Tmall continues to be the major platform for international brands’ digital operations and the gateway to China.”