This Week In Retail Marketing Innovation – April 22, 2019

How Ikea is Disrupting Itself by Opening It’s First Urban ‘Planning Studio’

When thinking of an Ikea storefront, you probably think of some of the tentpole features found in the furniture retailer.

A maze like layout, a warehouse full of furniture you will begrudgingly put together later, and some of the greatest meatballs on the face of the earth. However, in an effort to acquire new customers, specifically millennials in urban cities, Ikea looks to disrupt itself and do away with those tentpole features by opening its first urban “planning studio” on Monday April 15.

Located in New York City on the Upper East Side, Ikea’s planning studio is taking inspiration from brands like Casper (planning on opening 200 stores) and Warby Parker (with 90 storefront locations), who are now looking at rent physical spaces as a different marketing channel and an opportunity to educate and engage their customers.

The planning studio has a smaller footprint at 17,350 square feet, compared to the usual Ikea warehouses and invites customers to browse products, have access to expert designers, and have purchased products delivered for a nominal fee.

The planning studio is part of Ikea’s overarching strategy of empowering customers to shop in the ways that they expect by providing space for more live mockups, on-site consultants, increasing emphasis on delivery, and assistance on constructing purchases shown by their acquisition of TaskRabbit.

When Ikea announced its intention of opening two more of planning studios in San Francisco and Washington, they also announced that they would be cutting 7500 jobs. This is sparking concern around how this strategy will affect the number of employees Ikea will have on staff per store moving forward, with the current planning studio only needing 25 people to staff the store.

Ikea is not alone in moving toward a smaller store footprint, recently Target has opened over 130 small stores, and Krogers has opened 13 Krogers Express shops inside of Walgreens.

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