By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN
The seamless online shopping experience will offer the same journey and impression customers get when they visit a physical IKEA store, promised the company executives.
“We see the potential – it is a potential in Thailand for IKEA. We have only been accessible within Bangkok so far, and now we will be accessible for people from across the country,” Lacia Sherlock, the deputy retail manager for Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, said.
“So we think it has potential. The delivery prices need to be affordable and all the services need to be accessible for consumers living outside of Bangkok, so that they are able to get the assembly or whatever they need.”
Over the past decades, IKEA has revolutionised the furniture and home decor industry through differentiated and unique ideas such as flat-packs, the iconic IKEA blue box store, showrooms offering practical in-store experiences and home decorating inspirations for everyone. As well there is their do-it-yourself (DIY) “We do our part, you do your part” concept, and bulk production to offer quality, affordable, functional and well-designed furniture and decorating items for people around the world.
IKEA is committed to developing products and services to create a better everyday life for the masses, and is now attempting to meet the changing lifestyles of modern shoppers who spend a considerable amount of time online. To respond to that change, IKEA developed an e-commerce platform for modern shoppers providing a convenient channel to access it products and inspirations, 24 hours a day and from anywhere in Thailand.
Sherlock said it took IKEA about two years to study the market demand, develop the infrastructure, and prepare everything before launching their e-commerce service in Southeast Asia.
“We aim to provide an impressive online shopping experience similar to the shopping experience customers get when visiting our physical stores,” she said. The online store has been available in Singapore and Malaysia within Southeast Asia. “We are pleased to now be able to provide this access to Thais. We have been wanting to do this for a long time, along with providing them with a superior experience and inspiration through both of our two Bangkok stores,” said Sherlock.
IEA soft-launched its e-commerce service in Thailand on March 26 in order to test the system and procedures and ensure they were fully functional before today’s official launch.
“Based on the soft launch I’m going to say [customer growth] was faster than Malaysia, and probably at the same pace as Singapore. So Malaysia had 5 per cent after six months and we had 5 per cent after eight weeks. So definitely faster than Malaysia, which is a surprise actually. And Singapore started out at about 7 per cent and are now on 10 per cent, so I think Thailand is probably more on Singapore’s pace,” said Sherlock.
The company also has a plan to roll out the e-commerce business in other emerging countries, in which it has a physical presence.
“We will always have physical presence together with the e-commerce platform. And the next store in the market for us is Manila, the Philippines, in November 2020,” she added. Tom Suter, the store manager for IKEA Bang Yai said, “We are grateful to IKEA’s fans who have welcomed IKEA Online Store and provided us with valuable feedback so that we could further improve our services.”
The online store chalked up 1,344,700 visits and 4,900 orders at IKEA.co.th during the two-month test run, Suter noted.
“We are looking at achieving 17,000 online orders this year. We believe that the IKEA Online Store will help strengthen IKEA Thailand and drive sustainable growth, as our popular in-store shopping experience is complemented by our new online offering.”