Furniture retailer Ikea plans on opening a string of smaller high street stores and starting a 24-hour delivery service due to the number of online shoppers buying goods around the clock.
Retail manager for the UK and Ireland Javier Quinones said changes had to be made or the company would cease to exist.
He told The Times: 'It's not that we have to change because otherwise we will not exist tomorrow, but… I'm convinced that if we do not do the transformation then in the long-run we will not exist.'
Having first arrived in the UK 30 years ago, the flatpack furniture shop's business model has stayed roughly the same.
Quinones said: 'Consumers were driving to where the stores were and picking up the goods and going home. This is changing totally. Online is impacting massively because people are ordering through phones and iPads.'
The first miniature Ikea will open in Tottenham Court Road in central London later this year. It will display a smaller range of kitchens and bathrooms – but will not serve their famous meatballs.
Jat Sahi, Digital Lead Retail at Fujitsu UK & Ireland, responded to the news:“This latest move from Ikea to open smaller stores inside the city centre confirms a recent trend in the UK and across the world – micro-retailers. Last year B&Q opened their first high street store in the UK to trial the format and this year their CEO, Veronique Laury has suggested that there may be more coming soon.”
Opening small stores allows retailers to be more visible, versatile, and similarly to how fast fashion works, allow them to respond to customer trends quicker. When customers know what they want, it’s easier for them to buy online; but if they don’t – that’s when they go offline.
“To build a sense of discovery, we’re likely to see more stores become more sensational, and also more flexible. For example in the US, we’ve already seen Nordstorm open a number of micro stores, where customers request products online but try them on and buy in-store.
“As digital redefines customer experience, retailers must think of themselves as tech companies, making the best of the technology available to them to please and entice the customer.”