IKEA Sukhumvit set to unveil city-store concept on Dec 1
Self-service, easy accessibility, and cashless transactions are the highlights of the first IKEA city store concept in Bangkok, Leonie Hoskin, the furniture giant’s Thailand and Vietnam retail manager said on Wednesday.
Ahead of the official opening on December 1, she took the press on a preview tour of the IKEA Sukhumvit store, Southeast Asia's first “city-centre store” and the largest home furnishing store in downtown Bangkok.
Spread over 12,000 square metres, it is located on the third floor of the newly opened Emsphere shopping mall, near Phrom Phong BTS station, and provides easy access to city dwellers while exposing them to the IKEA-style complete shopping experience.
The city-store concept, first introduced in 2017, represents a critical component of the company's global growth strategy, Hoskin said.
She said that IKEA Sukhumvit is poised to provide convenience to both Thai residents and foreigners living in the city centre.
"In this Sukhumvit area, approximately 300,000 households live in apartments and condominiums. So, we expect that they will enjoy visiting IKEA and will feel free to use their creativity to design their own comfort zone, whether for living or working," she said.
Meanwhile, as Bangkokians are more accustomed to a digital lifestyle, the majority of services available at IKEA Sukhumvit will be based on self-service technologies, allowing customers to enjoy shopping on their own.
She added, however, that IKEA employees would be nearby to assist customers in understanding how to use the tools.
She pointed out that technology had been used to expedite service and improve customer convenience. There are up to 16 self-checkout kiosks available, demonstrating the company's commitment to catering to urban dwellers' digital lifestyles.
Hoskin hopes that these technologies will assist Thais in becoming acquainted with a cashless society.
"It is another payment channel option that we [IKEA] would like to provide to our customers. We can now pay using a credit card, a QR code, or a mobile app. We are also thinking about improving our other financial options, such as instalment payments, so that customers can afford IKEA products," she said.
IKEA Sukhumvit, the fourth store in Thailand of the Swedish brand, is easily accessible by public transportation. The 12,000-square-metre floor space is divided into four zones, and offers a selection of up to 8,254 products, with more than 4,000 available for cash and carry.
These include a showroom zone designed specifically for the urban lifestyle, a market hall with over 3,000 items in the same categories as those found in IKEA Bangna and IKEA Bang Yai, a self-serve warehouse with over 300 items to buy and take home, and an IKEA Restaurant with a panoramic view of Benchasiri Park and three affordable Swedish cuisine meal sets for office workers and visitors.
In terms of sustainability, Hosnik pointed out that IKEA Sukhumvit would, for the first time, provide same-day delivery service within an 8-kilometre radius in electric vehicles.
With prices starting at 129 baht, the service is applicable to in-store purchases and customers who physically visit the store.
Sirin Atsilarat, store manager of IKEA Sukhumvit, said the store is introducing a special collection, Aurtiende, for the first time in the world.
The collection will only be available in Thailand and the United Kingdom, she added.
She expects the opening of the IKEA Sukhumvit store to help increase the number of IKEA family members by around 30,000 from the current 1.5 million members nationwide. In addition, the location hopes to attract 4 million visitors, the same number as IKEA Bangna, over the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, the company is collaborating with Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS), the Skytrain operator, to launch a promotional campaign encouraging visitors to use this public transport to visit IKEA Sukhumvit.
IKEA is the world's largest home furnishings retailer, operating 460 stores in over 60 countries. IKEA Thailand is a subsidiary of Ikano Retail, one of 12 IKEA franchisees and the only one owned by Ingvar Kamprad's family, who founded IKEA in 1943.