Ikea is looking to bring platforms into home furnishing

Now Ikea is looking to bring platforms into home furnishing… The change in how it builds its furniture is symptomatic of the radical transformation the entire retailer is undergoing. For decades, its business model has been simple — attract customers to giant out-of-town warehouses where prices are kept low by shoppers having to pick their own furniture from shelves, take it home and assemble it. Now, all of that model is under question. Ikea is experimenting with city-centre and smaller shops as well as services such as home delivery and assembly. It is looking into renting out furniture instead of selling it, and smart home technology that brings it up against Silicon Valley. Its platform initiative is one of its most important, albeit largely invisible to customers… The new approach is not without risks though. Developing new platforms can be a costly business and in the car industry has often led to just as much complexity as before… But for the furniture group, facing the same rapid changes in the retail landscape that have caused dozens of brands to fail, there is a feeling that it needs to do as much as it can even if it is likely to have failures on the way.  As Ikea’s legendary founder Ingvar Kamprad, who died last year at the age of 91, once said: “Only while sleeping one makes no mistakes.” 

Richard Milne