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John Ryan

IKEA’s Alternative Store of the Future, Now

Without a typical warehouse, this IKEA features a small format concept




AN IKEA WITHOUT FLATPACKS and a product warehouse? If this sounds possible, you may be thinking of the Planning Studio format that the Swedish behemoth has been opening in locations across the globe and which involves sales associates sitting behind computer terminals conjuring up images of a better domestic world.

In London’s Hammersmith, however, a store has just opened that is an IKEA without a warehouse in which to pick up to-be-assembled piece of furniture. It’s also not a Planning Studio and is permanent. This is, in fact, a two-floor metropolitan IKEA which is considerably less than a third of the size of a regular big box and stocks just 4000 items. And if that sounds a lot, then consider the fact that only 1800 of these are available to take home on the day. Home delivery fulfilment rules.

The store is a location that will not be visited by car, for the most part, as parking is in considerably short supply. Instead, shoppers will arrive on foot and depart in the same manner using the tube or heading for home carrying the goods they have purchased. In so doing, they will have used a self-checkout and maybe ordered a sofa, a wardrobe or similar, to be delivered.

The big box is shrinking. It is becoming inner-city and as it does so, it is becoming more like a “shop of the future.” There may be no contactless here, but the banks of self-checkout terminals and QR codes waiting to be scanned make this one feel unlike many of its rivals and give it a distinctly modern feel.

All this and windows too. The store is the anchor in a mall and, as such, it can be entered from the street or from within the shopping centre itself. Whichever route is chosen, the shopper will pass artfully visually merchandised windows and be tempted. Oh yes, and don’t forget the Swedish Deli, an in-store café with Scandi goodies. Go visit.




MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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