On March 10 Inter IKEA Systems B.V. (owner of the IKEA concept and global franchisor), IKEA Retail China and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. launched the first virtual IKEA store during a digital signing ceremony via Taobao Live Streaming from IKEA Shanghai Baoshan and Hangzhou Ali Park. The virtual IKEA store on Tmall will offer around 3,500 IKEA products and home furnishing solutions.
The virtual IKEA store on Tmall offers Chinese consumers access to IKEA in a new and virtual environment by focusing on how IKEA can improve and support Chinese customers to live a better life at home. The partnership provides an opportunity for IKEA to learn about this new format as a complement to its existing customer meetings. Based on this test IKEA will evaluate if and how third-party platforms fit into IKEA’s channel mix.
In recent years IKEA has been testing new formats and solutions in various markets around the world to increase accessibility to IKEA. Examples of this are the opening of smaller shops, planning studios, IKEA apps, new service solutions and many more. 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. At the same time we’re always curious about how to improve and learn. We are happy about this collaboration with Alibaba. I’m convinced that we will learn a lot from this test,” confirms Jon Abrahamsson Ring, Managing Director of Inter IKEA Systems B.V.
“We are continuously exploring how we can make IKEA home furnishing solutions and range more accessible as we want to deliver to the IKEA vision of creating a better everyday life for the many. The launch of the virtual store at Tmall is truly exciting and we believe that it will complement existing sales channels such as our IKEA stores and e-commerce as we come closer to our customers in China," says Tolga Öncü, Retail Operations Manager, Ingka Group
China as a market has shown a strong digital development within a unique and advanced digital environment. We are committed to bringing IKEA closer to the many Chinese consumers both online and offline by offering diverse meeting points which Chinese consumers prefer.
“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.”