Áine Cain / Business Insider
- Ikea’s Manhattan planning studio will open on Monday.
- Business Insider spoke with Ikea US COO Leontyne Green Sykes about the new location.
- "We are really focused on trying to create an omnichannel ecosystem," Green Sykes said of the new store.
How does Ikea plan to adapt to the increasingly omnichannel world of retail?
Well, the furniture-store chain’s new planning studio in Manhattan may offer up some important clues.
The new studio on Third Avenue is a marked departure from the chain’s traditional big, blue box stores situated on the outskirts of town. On a tour of the space, Ikea employees emphasized that the location is meant to provide city dwellers with a customizable, digitally integrated experience geared toward specific New York City-oriented concerns.
Business Insider interviewed Ikea US COO Leontyne Green Sykes during a visit to the studio, which will open its doors to customers on Monday. She offered some insights into how the location fits into Ikea’s overall omnichannel strategy.
Green Sykes said that the central concern that the company wants to address when considering the rise of e-commerce is: "How do we allow many more people to basically experience and shop Ikea?"
"Our strategy is really around transforming to be more relevant for consumers and what they’re looking for," she told Business Insider. "This unit gives us the opportunity to answer some very specific needs."
Mostly, that means offering a flexible experience for "time-starved" shoppers in New York City who lack the time needed to head to the Ikeas in Paramus or Brooklyn.
"They can get to it easier," Green Sykes said. "They can come in and they can shop on their own, but they can also get some individualized personal attention to help them plan whatever their project is."
The location doesn’t showcase a warehouse full of furniture so that shoppers will wheel out tables and shelves to assemble at home. The focus is to help the customer plan out a whole project and file a delivery order for the necessary pieces.
Green Sykes noted that customers can even plan a room on Ikea’s website, save the mock-up, and then pull it back up in the studio to review with an Ikea employee. Green Sykes called the new studio digitally "integrated."
"They can actually go online while they’re here, order their products, and make arrangements to have it delivered to their home," she said. "We are really focused on trying to create an omnichannel ecosystem, and so digital is a huge part of how we’re evolving."
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