IKEA and the Chinese retail giant Alibaba have announced the opening of the IKEA virtual store on the Alibaba e-commerce platform Tmall.
The partnership with Alibaba enables IKEA to become more accessible for the growing middle-class in China.
The partnership is set up between Inter IKEA Systems B.V., which is the owner of the IKEA concept and global franchisor, IKEA Retail China, and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
They launched the virtual store during a digital signing ceremony via Taobao Live Streaming from IKEA Shanghai Baoshan and Hangzhou Ali Park.
The virtual IKEA store on Tmall will offer around 3500 IKEA products and home furnishing solutions.
“The launch of the virtual store at Tmall is truly exciting and we believe that it will complement existing sales channels such as our IKEA stores and e-commerce as we come closer to our customers in China,” said Tolga Öncü, Retail Operations Manager, Ingka Group.
The Online Store
The virtual IKEA store on Tmall offers Chinese consumers access to IKEA in a new and virtual environment by focusing on how IKEA can improve and support Chinese customers to live a better life at home.
The partnership provides an opportunity for IKEA to learn about this new format as a complement to its existing customer meetings. Based on this test, IKEA will evaluate if and how third-party platforms fit into IKEA’s channel mix.
Testing New Channels
In recent years, IKEA has been testing new formats and solutions in various markets around the world to increase accessibility to IKEA.
IKEA have tested out the opening of smaller shops, as seen in Copenhagen city centre, planning studios, IKEA apps, new service solutions and so forth.
Alongside this, IKEA has also launched e-commerce in more than 50 markets.
“At IKEA we are very proud of our iconic IKEA store, with more than one billion visitors every year worldwide,” said Jon Abrahamsson Ring, Managing Director of Inter IKEA Systems B.V.
“We are happy about this collaborating with Alibaba. I’m convinced that we will learn a lot from this test,” Abrahamsson Ring added.
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