Does IKEA need parking lots?
IKEA has done a lot of experimenting with moving away from its iconic, labyrinthine big box store format to make its furniture shopping experience fit with the lifestyle of today’s city dweller. Now the chain is opening a store in the E.U. that will bet big on serving a customer base of pedestrians, cyclists and public transportation commuters as the store will have no place to park.
The store in Vienna, Austria, which connects directly to the city’s subway station, promises that all items too big to carry will be home delivered within 24 hours, according to an article on urban design blog Treehugger. The store will nevertheless be a large one, consisting of several floors and displaying the entire IKEA range. There are some additional contemporary design features as well, including greenery on all facade surfaces and a publicly accessible roof terrace.
Its announcement of the parking lot-free location comes two years after IKEA began implementing its urban strategy, which has focused on building stores that are smaller and geared toward life in cities with a greater focus on delivery and related services.
The “green” elements of the store design, along with a setup that empowers customers to shop without a car, are also in keeping with the chain’s new environmental stance. IKEA has a comprehensive plan to reduce its carbon footprint that will change every aspect of its business, including how it designs its products (which are often thought of as disposable), according to Fast Company. The chain plans to be “climate positive” by the year 2030.
Urban stores that depend on home delivery have begun growing in popularity in other retail verticals as well. Nordstrom, for instance, launched its Nordstrom Local concept in 2017. The showroom carries no inventory for immediate purchase. The chain has since increased the concept’s footprint, adding a few new locations in Manhattan last year.
- IKEA is building a big new store in Vienna with no parking – Treehugger
- How IKEA plans to be climate positive by 2030 – Fast Company
- Nordstrom opening more local stores without inventory – RetailWire
- Nordstrom Local hopes for big returns from the competition – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Would it make sense for IKEA to open stores in U.S. cities that have no parking lots? Do you see more retailers opening concepts that rely on shipping items ordered in stores to the homes of customers?