by Elton Gomes
Swedish home furnishings retailer Ikea is set to begin its e-commerce operations in India by March 2019, Ikea India Chief Executive Officer Peter Betzel said on Thursday.
“Ikea will create a multichannel experience for its customers in India. It will launch ecommerce in Mumbai early next summer (March) and introduce other touch points to bring the brand closer to customers,” Betzel told PTI.
Betzel further said that Ikea India already had an online platform and it was in the process of linking various platforms in order to maximise business prospects.
Ikea’s foray into the digital marketplace could mean that Amazon, Flipkart and other leading e-tailers could have competition on their hands. Replying to a question as to when does Ikea expect its digital venture to be profitable considering the fierce competition, Betzel said Ikea was certainly looking to achieve profits by developing the business online along with having physical meeting points.
“When Ikea will be profitable? I cannot tell now, but certainly we are aiming at profitability in coming years,” he added, PTI reported.
Ikea to set shop in Bengaluru
Ikea launched its first store in India in Hyderabad on August 9. The Swedish retailer said it would be investing Rs 1,000 crore for its 500,000 sq. ft Bengaluru outlet, which is expected to open in the summer of 2020. Ikea’s Mumbai store is set to open later this year.
“Bengaluru is truly cosmopolitan with many people moving in to find new opportunities. With the Ikea store, we will contribute to a better everyday life for all Bengalureans with well-designed, functional home-furnishing solutions,” Betzel said, Live Mint reported.
The Bengaluru store will reportedly have parking space for 2,000 cars and will also have a 1,000-seater restaurant. In addition, it will have a supervised play area for children, the company said. The Bengaluru store will see 800 to 1,000 employees being hired directly, while another 1,500 will be employed indirectly, Live Mint reported.
Ikea plans to open over 40 stores in India
Witnessing the rapid growth of the retail sector, Ikea is reportedly looking to increase its investments in India.
On the launch of its first store in Hyderabad, Ikea officials said that the retailer plans to open more than 40 stores across across different formats. The number has been increased as 25 stores were planned earlier.
Officials told the press that they will be approaching the Indian government to receive approval to invest in more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). However, they did not give a timeline or quantum of the additional investment, as reported by IANS.
Ikea said that it also has plans to make India a unique experience for the furniture giant. “We are also looking at opening multiple small format stores of 1,000-5,000 square meters each in bigger cities like Mumbai for having more touch points,” Betzel told Business Today.
The Swedish retailer sees potential to set up large or small format stores in at least 49 Indian cities that have a population of more than a million each. After setting up shop in Mumbai, Ikea will look to open more stores in Bengaluru, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune, Chennai, and more.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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