Ikea set to take home-furnishing shopping to a new level in India

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on August 06, 2018 Published on August 06, 2018

A walk through the Swedish firm's first India store, which opens on Aug 9 in Hyderabad

From Almhult, a tiny Swedish of about 9,000, to Hyderabad, it has been a long and exciting journey for the furniture giant Ikea.

As the countdown begins for the opening of its first India store at Hitec City, there is buzz in the air, with a social media blitz and hoardings all over the city.

Something for everyone

A walk-through of the store, ahead of its formal opening on August 9, reveals the Ikea concept: Something for everyone.

As one drives in to park in the massive lot, the size and magnitude of the store begin to sink in. It is located on a 13-acre site or the size of 10 football grounds.

Posters of biryani at ₹99 and chicken meatballs at ₹149, on offer at the massive restaurant greet you. After a short escalator ride, one enters an area that reminds one of the signature design format of Ikea stores around the world. Greeted by smiling faces, and the huge spread of items from toys to tiny plants, curtains to cushions, and home furnishings, one tends to forget that the store is in India.

Be it a pack of four spoons for ₹15, a sofa set or a dining set or cots, all have the stamp of the Scandinavian minimalistic design.

Democratic design

True to Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad’s guiding principle on taking people’s inputs for design of products, Ikea experts spent time at Indian homes to understand their requirements.

In tune with this philosophy, one can see well formatted bedrooms, dining rooms and sitting area. Pricing and the cost of delivery and services, such as installation, are mentioned in the price tag, making it easy for the shopper to choose the items and/or services. In a way, Ikea seems to have gone beyond its DIY (do-it-yourself) approach in other markets.

Regular household items such as stools, chairs, centre- tables, lamps, wardrobes are priced aggressively enough to give local furniture stores a run for their money.

While Ikea believes that wherever it opens a store, the entire ecosystem grows there, only time can tell if this turns out to be true here.

John Achillea, Ikea Hyderabad store manager, said: “We are really excited that finally we are opening the first Ikea India store in Hyderabad. Our promise is to deliver good quality, affordable and beautiful home furnishing products and solutions. We now have 950 co-workers getting ready to welcome our customers.”

Ikea believes that if customers are hungry, they will not be able to shop well. The best way is to offer them good food through the massive restaurant and then encourage them to shop.

As you step in, you are guided at the entry point to follow the arrow that takes you through the store. Later, as you pass through the floor below for kitchen and gardening products, the warehouse and to the billing counters, there are refreshment counters, too.

Different experience

A mere walk-through, without spending much time, takes more than 90 minutes. And it is hard to step out without buying anything. Unlike the stores where you walk in with a list of items to buy, the Ikea store provides a different experience. As you explore the displays, you like so many items that you begin to relate to your home and want to get them.

But that’s Ikea Hej.

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Published on August 06, 2018
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