It's All about Retail
Nov. 7-9th,Qingdao, China

Ikea’s first small-format store has no checkouts (by Heather McIlvaine, sourced from inside retail)

Ikea Australia officially opened its first small-format store on Friday at Warringah Mall on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

The 98sqm store is the retailer’s first Home Planning Studio, where customers can book one-on-one planning sessions with staff to design their dream kitchen or bedroom storage solution.

The store lacks many of the signature features consumers have come to associate with the Swedish flatpack giant, including a warehouse, blue plastic ‘Frakta’ bag and meatballs, not to mention checkouts.

Instead, customers purchase their kitchen or storage solutions online at the studio, with the items delivered directly to their home. Customers can also shop a digital wall of homewares, which they can add to their virtual bag and transfer to their mobile device for checkout.

This digital-first, highly personalised shopping experience is geared towards a different type of customer than the typical Ikea shopper, according to Jan Gardberg, country manager of Ikea Australia.

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"With the Ikea Home planning studio we have reinvented the traditional Ikea experience for a different audience, with different shopping needs putting digital at the heart of the customer’s journey. However, the digital experience is delivered in our most personalised approach yet,” he said.

“The customer’s wants and needs for their kitchen or bedroom storage solution are the starting point, and the experience they will receive in the Home Planning Studio will be personalised from there.”

Customers are advised to book their kitchen and storage consultations in advance, but they can also drop in and browse. It costs $99 for a two-hour kitchen planning session, which is refunded on the purchase of a kitchen within the session.

The studio also includes a projector tool, which allows customers to envision what their ideal wardrobe will look like by projecting it onto a wardrobe front.