Sydney residents will have have access to online shopping and delivery from Ikea from this week, as the company focuses on connecting with more shoppers just weeks ahead of Amazon’s anticipated Australian launch.
The furniture retailer says it is embarking on the next stage of growth in Australia by extending its delivery and click-and-collect offer to customers across Sydney. Online shopping is already available in Tasmania, the Northern Territory, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.
Online shoppers in those locations can have Ikea furniture delivered to their door for $99, while the click-and-collect option will see customers pay $40 to be able to pick up orders without having to complete a trek through an Ikea outlet first.
Ikea Australia multi-channel manager Michael Donath tells SmartCompany the expansion of the retailer’s delivery platform comes after several calls from customers for greater accessibility.
The pending arrival of another global retail giant to Australia’s shores is not the motivation for kicking off Sydney’s delivery scheme from Wednesday, he says.
“For us, we’re going through a change globally, and we have a global multi-channel strategy,” he says.
“Amazon is not the driver of this change — it is about the customer.”
While the idea of an online store might appeal to shoppers who don’t have time to negotiate the maze-like experience of an Ikea store, Donath says click-and-collect and deliveries are also designed to give Ikea lovers even more chances to buy and he believes the service will still appeal to those who love to come in-store for some meatballs and browsing.
“We know as well that some people like to do the show-rooming experience and then go online,” he says.
The company’s click-and-collect offering does incur a fee, but Donath says customer take-up of the service has been strong, particularly in Queensland, with shoppers able to place an order for same-day pickup.
While the company is keeping tight-lipped on when its online offering will be available across the entire country, Donath says there are plans to take the it “Australia-wide”.
Maintaining a niche
Retail expert at Queensland University of Technology, associate professor Gary Mortimer, says the latest rollout of Ikea’s delivery system speaks to the company’s focus on capturing customers who live too far from a bricks-and-mortar store to justify a purchase.
“Clearly there are people who want to shop with Ikea but often their locations are well outside urban areas,” he says.
“They’ve always had a very strong digital footprint, even with virtual reality and augmented reality for their catalogues. This is them finally catching up with the rest of the market.”
There’s no shortage of competitors in the furniture space, while Amazon is likely to also bring its homewares offering to Australian consumers when it launches locally. To Mortimer’s mind, however, Ikea has still maintained its position as a unique offering.
“With most furniture stores even now, you need to order first and it can take up to four or six weeks to arrive,” he says.
“Ikea really do still have a different offer, you can walk in and walk out with an entire lounge room.”