Top company official of Swedish furniture retailer Ikea said that they plan to open small city outlets alongside their mega format stores across India. It will be supported with an online channel, the official added.
The strategy is being tweaked in the wake of changing consumer behaviour.
kea received government approval in 2013 for its Rs 10,500 crore investment for opening stores in India. The company had planned to set up 10 stores and allied infrastructure in over 10 years in India. Subsequently, it planned to open 15 more stores.
Thus far, the furniture retailer has set up three mega stores in Hyderabad, Navi Mumbai and Bengaluru and has set up two city centres in Mumbai.
"A little bit slowed down during the COVID period but we are also learning from the first markets we have opened," Ikea India CEO Susanne Pulverer told PTI in an interview when asked about the impact of the pandemic on the company's expansion plans in the country.
On the way forward, she said, "We need to be close to where people are. So that's when we also looked at smaller formats that are still relatively big for Indian retail."
Ikea India CEO Susanne Pulverer on company's strategy change
When asked if that meant tweaking of the company's strategy in India, Pulverer affirmed that Ikea was making change based on global phenomenon.
"It's not enough with the big store outside (city). People don't have time, maybe not having a car, they are not always willing to take all the things home, they want it delivered. Then we can be closer to people and have different ways of meeting them," she said.
So, it will be omni channel, she said adding, "It's the big Ikea full experience and it's smaller formats, maybe even smaller, where you can come and plan and get service for designing your home."
Pulverer said Ikea is still in the investment phase of its approved FDI and further investments have not been lined up although the furniture retailer is committed to the Indian market in the long term.
"We believe we will have many more stores and we will have omni channel because we see that is the future. The combination, and how many, what year I'm not ready to share yet. We are working with these plans," she said.
Pulverer speaks about company's online expansion
When asked about online expansion, Pulverer said, "We want to go physical and online together, that's the best. We have done some pilots in the three cities in Gujarat with online only. We are evaluating but we know it is a full experience to get the inspiration and then you need to come to an Ikea store. So it's never as good just to put it online."
She said the current contribution from the online channel to the overall sales is around 30 per cent, having increased during the pandemic and staying high.
"We believe it will continue to be increasingly important, but we believe that physical experience will also stay. So the combination I think is perfect actually. People choose when to shop from home and when to come out and have the experience. So, it will be the mix for the future that will be needed," Pulverer said.
Ikea is also offering products online through the website or App to its customers in cities such such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Surat, and Vadodara.