Ikea opens online flagship store on Tmall

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) - The world's leading home furnishing retailer, Ikea, opened its online flagship store on Alibaba's e-commerce platform Tmall on Tuesday.

The world's leading home furnishing retailer, Ikea, opened its online flagship store on Alibaba's e-commerce platform Tmall on Tuesday, showing the Swedish industry leader's confidence in the Chinese market as the novel coronavirus outbreak is increasingly under control in the country.

The newly-opened virtual store at Tmall will provide about 3,800 Ikea products, which is about 40 percent of all products that Ikea provides in a physical store. Delivery services will be provided by third party logistics companies, while Ikea will be responsible for warehousing. Assembly services will be provided by companies designated by Tmall.

It is Ikea's first-ever online official flagship store on a third-party platform.

According to Ikea China's chief executive officer Anna Pawlak-Kuliga, such services will be first available to customers in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui.

Ikea China started its transformation 18 months ago, with digitalization one of the focuses. The launch of the virtual store on Tmall, according to Kuliga, is "a significant milestone" for Ikea's development in China and an important breakthrough in the company's omnichannel strategy in the country.

The launch ceremony of Ikea's new virtual store was held on Tuesday via Alibaba's livestreaming channel. In less than half an hour, the new store attracted more than 70,000 followers, said Yang Guang, general manager of Tmall's Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishing Business Department. It took the two companies less than eight months to open the online store, he added.

Jiang Fan, president of Tmall and its sister platform Taobao, said they will team up with Ikea for more attempts regarding new retail models and digital upgrading.

Public information shows that Tmall, e-commerce giant Alibaba's arm for selling domestic and international brand name products, now has a monthly active user base of 824 million people. A large number of companies have sped up their plans to launch their stores on Tmall or upgrade their already-existing Tmall stores during the epidemic period, said Jiang.

Also launched on Tuesday is the online shopping application to diversify Ikea's distribution channels in China. Kuliga said that the launch of the online store and the app, though not prompted by the epidemic, has once again pointed to the importance of digital transformation.

With its first store opened in Shanghai in 1998, Ikea now has 32 city-center stores in China. To date, 16 stores have reopened after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. A new small-sized store, covering about 8,500 square meters, is expected to open in Shanghai in two months, Kuliga said.


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