Virtual Shopping Spree

Preview image of “Virtual Shopping Spree”
  • IKEA is selling its products through Alibaba’s Tmall
  • Shutterstock, Alibaba Group

As footfall plummets, IKEA is one of several stores expanding its virtual offering.

As online sales become nearly the only sales, the world’s leader in furniture retail has broken its mould by launching an online store through a third-party platform for the first time: The IKEA store is hosted by Tmall, belonging to Chinese giant Alibaba Group, and provides Ikea’s range to consumers at first in only selected parts of the country, including Shanghai, with plans for more reach in the future. Tmall and Taobao president Jiang Fan said it was exciting “for us to help IKEA explore online channels and to enable more Chinese consumers to purchase its products.”

IKEA has been trying to diversify its game in recent years, investing in digital solutions and retail formats like smaller outlets closer to city centres. This use of a third-party conduit is another fresh departure to maintain dominance, as well as, presumably, to fight off a collapse in footfall. Chinese consumers were already able to visit 30 standard IKEA stores and three concept shops.

Malls are also hard hit by the quarantine. To combat this, Dubai Mall has announced it will let retailers sell and deliver products through a digital platform. The offered platform and are financially connected to the mall operators.