Ikea is trialling a range of order and collection points stores across the UK, and opened its fourth inside Westfield Stratford City today.
Tucked away near the food area of the shopping centre, the mini-Ikea is somewhat hard to find. But once around the corner the familiar yellow signage welcomes the customer.
The front of the store is minimal with floor-to-ceiling glass and a steel frame network, allowing the passer-by to view some of the mocked-up rooms on display.
The first thing that is evident is that the furniture retailer has made effective use of the 9,500 sq ft of retail space, displaying rooms in a stacked format, one on top of the other. There are a couple of bedrooms on display, functional kitchens and a dining room.
’It’s all about accessibility’
The majority of the space is dedicated to the Apple computers and iPads from which shoppers can browse large pieces of furniture in the catalogue. After all, this is an order and collection point, not a fully stocked showroom.
Customers can order what they want online and either pick up the item the next day, or pay a £35 fee to have it delivered to their door.
Ikea expansion project manager Jack Jackson said: ”It’s all about accessibility. That’s why we’ve chosen this location for the new concept store.
”It’s also all about the customer journey; we expect this unit to be a point of inspiration, engagement and clarity.”
The store is located to attract passers-by, but what shoppers may find confusing is that there is little to actually purchase and take home on the day.
“We have about 40 items on sale which customers can buy and take home with them,” said Jackson, “and we do hope to expand this in the future.”
Ikea’s launch follows a trend among traditional big-box retailers who are responding to the competition that e-commerce has sprung on the industry by downsizing to fit the high street.
Jackson said: “We’re in the middle of a triathlon at the moment in terms of opening stores. We’ve opened three collection points in three weeks, and each has a slightly different purpose, but all are smaller units to fit the high street.”
While Ikea have downsized their store, they have certainly not compromised on brand as the store still maintained the familiar look of the larger stores. The industry will no doubt watch this latest addition to the retail landscape with interest.